Research Summary: Neuropeptide S-Mediated Facilitation of Synaptic Transmission Enforces Subthreshold Theta Oscillations within the Lateral Amygdala


The neuropeptide S (NPS) receptor system modulates neuronal circuit activity in
the amygdala in conjunction with fear, anxiety and the expression and extinction
of previously acquired fear memories. Using in vitro brain
slice preparations of transgenic GAD67-GFP (Δneo) mice, we investigated the
effects of NPS on neural activity in the lateral amygdala as a key region for
the formation and extinction of fear memories. We are able to demonstrate that
NPS augments excitatory glutamatergic synaptic input onto both projection
neurons and interneurons of the lateral amygdala, resulting in enhanced spike
activity of both types of cells. These effects were at least in part mediated by
presynaptic mechanisms. In turn, inhibition of projection neurons by local
interneurons was augmented by NPS, and subthreshold oscillations were
strengthened, leading to their shift into the theta frequency range. These data
suggest that the multifaceted effects of NPS on amygdaloid circuitry may shape
behavior-related network activity patterns in the amygdala and reflect the
peptide’s potent activity in various forms of affective behavior and
emotional memory.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 18-March-2011

Author(s): Meis S., Stork O., Munsch T.


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