A surge of serotonin transporters in the amygdala may increase the risk of anxiety

The exhibition of abnormal anxiety could be the result of increased levels of serotonin transporters in the amygdala region of the brain, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal JNeurosci.

A team of researchers affiliated with the Society for Neuroscience, a US-based professional society, focused on certain areas of the brain correlated with emotional processing, including the amygdala.

The team also measured the level of gene expression for genes encoding serotonin transporters and receptors in marmosets, during their experimentation of participants.

An increase in trait anxiety, characterized as a distinction in reaction to stressors exhibited by more than one individual, was correlated with heightened levels of gene expression for serotonin transporters in the amygdala.

In the study, the team administered an antidepressant class known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors into the amygdalae of anxious marmosets and noted anxiolytic effects.

The findings, researchers say, suggest that targeting the amygdala with an anti-anxiety drug intervention could decrease the onset of anxiety and help better understand as to the cause of anxiety in most people.

The study, titled Trait Anxiety Mediated by Amygdala Serotonin Transporter in the Common Marmoset, was funded by MRC, Wellcome Trust, and the Malaysian Public Service Department.

Image courtesy of iStock
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