Maturation of amygdala inputs regulate shifts in social and fear behaviors: A substrate for developmental effects of stress.

Affiliation

Ferrara NC(1), Trask S(2), Rosenkranz JA(3).
Author information:
(1)Department of Foundational Sciences and Humanities, Disciple of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, Chicago Medical School, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, IL, USA; Center for Neurobiology of Stress Resilience and Psychiatric Disorders, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, IL, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Department of Psychology, The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, USA.
(3)Department of Foundational Sciences and Humanities, Disciple of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, Chicago Medical School, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, IL, USA; Center for Neurobiology of Stress Resilience and Psychiatric Disorders, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, IL, USA.

Abstract

Stress can negatively impact brain function and behaviors across the lifespan. However, stressors during adolescence have particularly harmful effects on brain maturation, and on fear and social behaviors that extend beyond adolescence. Throughout development, social behaviors are refined and the ability to suppress fear increases, both of which are dependent on amygdala activity. We review rodent literature focusing on developmental changes in social and fear behaviors, cortico-amygdala circuits underlying these changes, and how this circuitry is altered by stress. We first describe changes in fear and social behaviors from adolescence to adulthood and parallel developmental changes in cortico-amygdala circuitry. We propose a framework in which maturation of cortical inputs to the amygdala promote changes in social drive and fear regulation, and the particularly damaging effects of stress during adolescence may occur through lasting changes in this circuit. This framework may explain why anxiety and social pathologies commonly co-occur, adolescents are especially vulnerable to stressors impacting social and fear behaviors, and predisposed towards psychiatric disorders related to abnormal cortico-amygdala circuits.