Report

Glutamatergic and Dopaminergic Neurons Mediate Anxiogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of CRHR1

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  01 Sep 2011:
1202107
DOI: 10.1126/science.1202107

Abstract

The corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor 1 (CRHR1) critically controls behavioral adaptation to stress and is causally linked to emotional disorders. Using neurochemical and genetic tools, we determined that CRHR1 is expressed in forebrain glutamatergic and GABAergic as well as in midbrain dopaminergic neurons. Via specific CRHR1 deletions in glutamatergic, GABAergic, dopaminergic and serotonergic cells, we found that the lack of CRHR1 in forebrain glutamatergic circuits reduces anxiety and impairs neurotransmission in amygdala and hippocampus. Selective deletion of CRHR1 in midbrain dopaminergic neurons increases anxiety-like behavior and reduces dopamine release in the prefrontal cortex. These results define a bidirectional model for the role of CRHR1 in anxiety and suggest that an imbalance between CRHR1-controlled anxiogenic glutamatergic and anxiolytic dopaminergic systems might lead to emotional disorders.