Role of the medial amygdala in mediating responses to aversive stimuli leading to hypertension

Pamela J Davern, Geoff Head

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26 Citations (Scopus)


1. The amygdala is a part of the limbic system that is associated with mediating the emotional and hormonal response to stress and although studies have focused on the central amygdala, there is increasing evidence that the medial amygdala is a major region activated by stressful stimuli. 2. Neuroanatomical studies in rats have shown greater activation in the medial amygdala following aversive stresses compared with other brain regions, including the central amygdala. Inhibition of the medial, but not the central, amygdala attenuates the development of hypertension in spontaneously hypertensive rats. 3. Schlager (BPH/2J) mice have a neurogenic form of hypertension that is most evident during the night when the mice are most active and is closely correlated with the level of activation of neurons in the medial, but not the central, amygdala. Pressor responses to aversive stimuli, such as restraint and cage-switch stress, are much greater in BPH/2J hypertensive than BPN/3J normotensive mice, but appetitive arousal produces normal increases in blood pressure. The degree of activation in the medial amygdala in BPH/2J hypertensive mice during aversive stress closely correlates with the increased blood pressure. 4. Thus, the inappropriate activation of the medial amygdala evoked by specific fear or aversive stimuli may be key to the neurogenic hypertension.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136 - 143
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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