GABAergic circuits of the basolateral amygdala and generation of anxiety after traumatic brain injury

Amino Acids. 2022 Sep;54(9):1229-1249. doi: 10.1007/s00726-022-03184-y. Epub 2022 Jul 7.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has reached epidemic proportions around the world and is a major public health concern in the United States. Approximately 2.8 million individuals sustain a traumatic brain injury and are treated in an Emergency Department yearly in the U.S., and about 50,000 of them die. Persistent symptoms develop in 10-15% of the cases including neuropsychiatric disorders. Anxiety is the second most common neuropsychiatric disorder that develops in those with persistent neuropsychiatric symptoms after TBI. Abnormalities or atrophy in the temporal lobe has been shown in the overwhelming number of TBI cases. The basolateral amygdala (BLA), a temporal lobe structure that consolidates, stores and generates fear and anxiety-based behavioral outputs, is a critical brain region in the anxiety circuitry. In this review, we sought to capture studies that characterized the relationship between human post-traumatic anxiety and structural/functional alterations in the amygdala. We compared the human findings with results obtained with a reproducible mild TBI animal model that demonstrated a direct relationship between the alterations in the BLA and an anxiety-like phenotype. From this analysis, both preliminary insights, and gaps in knowledge, have emerged which may open new directions for the development of rational and more efficacious treatments.

Keywords: Anxiety disorders; Basolateral amygdala; Diffusivity; Human; Rat; Traumatic brain injury.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anxiety
  • Basolateral Nuclear Complex*
  • Brain
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic*
  • Humans