Circuit-Based Biomarkers for Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Trends Neurosci. 2020 Nov;43(11):902-915. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2020.08.004. Epub 2020 Sep 8.


Mood and anxiety disorders are complex heterogeneous syndromes that manifest in dysfunctions across multiple brain regions, cell types, and circuits. Biomarkers using brain-wide activity patterns in humans have proven useful in distinguishing between disorder subtypes and identifying effective treatments. In order to improve biomarker identification, it is crucial to understand the basic circuitry underpinning brain-wide activity patterns. Leveraging a large repertoire of techniques, animal studies have examined roles of specific cell types and circuits in driving maladaptive behavior. Recent advances in multiregion recording techniques, data-driven analysis approaches, and machine-learning-based behavioral analysis tools can further push the boundary of animal studies and bridge the gap with human studies, to assess how brain-wide activity patterns encode and drive emotional behavior. Together, these efforts will allow identifying more precise biomarkers to enhance diagnosis and treatment.

Keywords: biomarker; circuit manipulation; data-driven analysis; multiregion recording; reverse translation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Animals
  • Anxiety
  • Anxiety Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Biomarkers
  • Brain
  • Humans
  • Mood Disorders / diagnosis


  • Biomarkers