Norepinephrine (NE) is known to play an integral role in the neurobiological response to stress. Exposure to stressful stimuli increases NE levels in brain regions that regulate stress and anxiety, like the basolateral amygdala (BLA). NE is thought to increase excitability in these areas through α- and Β-adrenoceptors (ARs), leading to increased anxiety. Surprisingly, recent studies have shown that systemic Β3-AR agonist administration decreases anxiety-like behaviors, suggesting that Β3-ARs may inhibit excitability in anxiety-related brain regions. Therefore, in this study we integrated electrophysiological and behavioral approaches to test the hypothesis that the anxiolytic effects of Β3-AR agonists may be mediated by an increase in BLA GABAergic inhibition. We examined the effect of a selective Β3-AR agonist, BRL37344 (BRL), on GABAergic synapses arising from local circuit interneurons and inhibitory synapses originating from a recently described population of cells called lateral paracapsular (LPCS) interneurons. Surprisingly, BRL selectively enhanced LPCS-evoked inhibitory postsynaptic currents (eIPSCs) with no effect on local GABAergic inhibition. BRL also had no effect on glutamatergic synaptic excitation within the BLA. BRL potentiation of LPCS eIPSCs was blocked by the selective Β3-AR antagonist, SR59230A, or by intracellular dialysis of Rp-CAMPS (cAMP-dependent protein kinase inhibitor), and this enhancement was not associated with any changes in spontaneous IPSCs or LPCS paired-pulse ratio. BRL also increased the amplitude of unitary LPCS IPSCs (uIPSCs) with no effect on uIPSC failure rate. Finally, bilateral BLA microinjection of BRL reduced anxiety-like behaviors in an open-field assay and the elevated plus-maze. Collectively, these data suggest that Β3-AR activation selectively enhances LPCS, but not local, BLA GABAergic synapses, and that increases in LPCS-mediated inhibition may contribute to the anxiolytic profile of Β3-AR agonists.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health