Aug 21, 2003

The neurobiology and control of anxious states

Progress in Neurobiology
Mark J Millan


Fear is an adaptive component of the acute "stress" response to potentially-dangerous (external and internal) stimuli which threaten to perturb homeostasis. However, when disproportional in intensity, chronic and/or irreversible, or not associated with any genuine risk, it may be symptomatic of a debilitating anxious state: for example, social phobia, panic attacks or generalized anxiety disorder. In view of the importance of guaranteeing an appropriate emotional response to aversive events, it is not surprising that a diversity of mechanisms are involved in the induction and inhibition of anxious states. Apart from conventional neurotransmitters, such as monoamines, gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA) and glutamate, many other modulators have been implicated, including: adenosine, cannabinoids, numerous neuropeptides, hormones, neurotrophins, cytokines and several cellular mediators. Accordingly, though benzodiazepines (which reinforce transmission at GABA(A) receptors), serotonin (5-HT)(1A) receptor agonists and 5-HT reuptake inhibitors are currently the principle drugs employed in the management of anxiety disorders, there is considerable scope for the development of alternative therapies. In addition to cellular, anatomical and...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Pathogenic Aspects
Butyric Acid
Serotonin Measurement
Anti-Anxiety Effect

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