NMDA-receptor-dependent plasticity in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis triggers long-term anxiolysis

Abstract

Anxiety is controlled by multiple neuronal circuits that share robust and reciprocal connections with the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), a key structure controlling negative emotional states. However, it remains unknown how the BNST integrates diverse inputs to modulate anxiety. In this study, we evaluated the contribution of infralimbic cortex (ILCx) and ventral subiculum/CA1 (vSUB/CA1) inputs in regulating BNST activity at the single-cell level. Using trans-synaptic tracing from single-electroporated neurons and in vivo recordings, we show that vSUB/CA1 stimulation promotes opposite forms of in vivo plasticity at the single-cell level in the anteromedial part of the BNST (amBNST). We find that an NMDA-receptor-dependent homosynaptic long-term potentiation is instrumental for anxiolysis. These findings suggest that the vSUB/CA1-driven LTP in the amBNST is involved in eliciting an appropriate response to anxiogenic context and dysfunction of this compensatory mechanism may underlie pathologic anxiety states.

 

http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14456