ZL006 mitigates anxiety-like behaviors induced by closed head injury through modulation of the neural circuit from the medial prefrontal cortex to amygdala

Cereb Cortex. 2024 Jun 4;34(6):bhae237. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhae237.


Closed head injury is a prevalent form of traumatic brain injury with poorly understood effects on cortical neural circuits. Given the emotional and behavioral impairments linked to closed head injury, it is vital to uncover brain functional deficits and their driving mechanisms. In this study, we employed a robust viral tracing technique to identify the alteration of the neural pathway connecting the medial prefrontal cortex to the basolateral amygdala, and we observed the disruptions in neuronal projections between the medial prefrontal cortex and the basolateral amygdala following closed head injury. Remarkably, our results highlight that ZL006, an inhibitor targeting PSD-95/nNOS interaction, stands out for its ability to selectively reverse these aberrations. Specifically, ZL006 effectively mitigates the disruptions in neuronal projections from the medial prefrontal cortex to basolateral amygdala induced by closed head injury. Furthermore, using chemogenetic approaches, we elucidate that activating the medial prefrontal cortex projections to the basolateral amygdala circuit produces anxiolytic effects, aligning with the therapeutic potential of ZL006. Additionally, ZL006 administration effectively mitigates astrocyte activation, leading to the restoration of medial prefrontal cortex glutamatergic neuron activity. Moreover, in the context of attenuating anxiety-like behaviors through ZL006 treatment, we observe a reduction in closed head injury-induced astrocyte engulfment, which may correlate with the observed decrease in dendritic spine density of medial prefrontal cortex glutamatergic neurons.

Keywords: ZL006; anxiety-like behaviors; astrocyte; closed head injury; mPFC–BLA circuit.

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala* / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Anxiety* / drug therapy
  • Disks Large Homolog 4 Protein / metabolism
  • Head Injuries, Closed* / complications
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neural Pathways / drug effects
  • Prefrontal Cortex* / drug effects


  • Disks Large Homolog 4 Protein