Targeting abnormal neural circuits in mood and anxiety disorders: from the laboratory to the clinic

Nat Neurosci. 2007 Sep;10(9):1116-24. doi: 10.1038/nn1944.


Recent decades have witnessed tremendous advances in the neuroscience of emotion, learning and memory, and in animal models for understanding depression and anxiety. This review focuses on new rationally designed psychiatric treatments derived from preclinical human and animal studies. Nonpharmacological treatments that affect disrupted emotion circuits include vagal nerve stimulation, rapid transcranial magnetic stimulation and deep brain stimulation, all borrowed from neurological interventions that attempt to target known pathological foci. Other approaches include drugs that are given in relation to specific learning events to enhance or disrupt endogenous emotional learning processes. Imaging data suggest that common regions of brain activation are targeted with pharmacological and somatic treatments as well as with the emotional learning in psychotherapy. Although many of these approaches are experimental, the rapidly developing understanding of emotional circuit regulation is likely to provide exciting and powerful future treatments for debilitating mood and anxiety disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Affect / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Anxiety Disorders / pathology
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy / methods
  • Humans
  • Laboratories
  • Models, Psychological
  • Mood Disorders / pathology
  • Mood Disorders / therapy*
  • Nerve Net* / pathology
  • Nerve Net* / physiopathology
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods