The amygdala has a central role in anxiety responses to stressful and arousing situations. Pharmacological and lesion studies of the basolateral, central, and medial subdivisions of the amygdala have shown that their activation induces anxiogenic effects, while their inactivation produces anxiolytic effects. Many neurotransmitters and stress mediators acting at these amygdalar nuclei can modulate the behavioral expression of anxiety. These mediators may be released from different brain regions in response to different types of stressors. The amygdala is in close relationship with several brain regions within the brain circuitry that orchestrates the expression of anxiety. Recent developments in optogenetics have begun to unveil details on how these areas interact.
Part of the book: The Amygdala