β-adrenergic enhancement of neuronal excitability in the lateral amygdala is developmentally gated

Ann E. Fink, Joseph E. LeDoux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Noradrenergic signaling in the amygdala is important for processing threats and other emotionally salient stimuli, and β-adrenergic receptor activation is known to enhance neuronal spiking in the lateral amygdala (LA) of juvenile animals. Nevertheless, intracellular recordings have not yet been conducted to determine the effect of β-adrenergic receptor activation on spike properties in the adult LA, despite the potential significance of developmental changes between adolescence and adulthood. Here we demonstrate that the β-adrenergic agonist isoproterenol (15 μM) enhances spike frequency in dorsal LA principal neurons of juvenile male C57BL/6 mice and fails to do so in strain- and sex-matched adults. Furthermore, we find that the age-dependent effect of isoproterenol on spike frequency is occluded by the GABA A receptor blocker picrotoxin (75 μM), suggesting that β-adrenergic receptors downregulate tonic inhibition specifically in juvenile animals. These findings indicate a significant shift during adolescence in the cellular mechanisms of β-adrenergic modulation in the amygdala. NEW & NOTEWORTHY β-Adrenergic receptors (β-ARs) in amygdala are important in processing emotionally salient stimuli. Most cellular recordings have examined juvenile animals, while behavioral data are often obtained from adults. We replicate findings showing that _-ARs enhance spiking of principal cells in the lateral amygdala of juveniles, but we fail to find this in adults. These findings have notable scientific and clinical implications regarding the noradrenergic modulation of threat processing, alterations of which underlie fear and anxiety disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1658-1664
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Volume119
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2018

Keywords

  • Amygdala
  • Developmental gating
  • Isoproterenol
  • Patch clamp
  • Threat and fear
  • β-adrenergic receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology

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