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Disentangling Hippocampal and Amygdala Contribution to Human Anxiety-Like Behavior

Bach, DR; Hoffmann, M; Finke, C; Hurlemann, R; Ploner, CJ; (2019) Disentangling Hippocampal and Amygdala Contribution to Human Anxiety-Like Behavior. Journal of Neuroscience , 39 (43) pp. 8517-8526. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0412-19.2019. Green open access

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Abstract

Anxiety comprises a suite of behaviors to deal with potential threat and is often modeled in approach–avoidance conflict tasks. Collectively, these tests constitute a predominant preclinical model of anxiety disorder. A body of evidence suggests that both ventral hippocampus and amygdala lesions impair anxiety-like behavior, but the relative contribution of these two structures is unclear. A possible reason is that approach–avoidance conflict tasks involve a series of decisions and actions, which may be controlled by distinct neural mechanisms that are difficult to disentangle from behavioral readouts. Here, we capitalize on a human approach–avoidance conflict test, implemented as computer game, that separately measures several action components. We investigate three patients of both sexes with unspecific unilateral medial temporal lobe (MTL) damage, one male with selective bilateral hippocampal (HC), and one female with selective bilateral amygdala lesions, and compare them to matched controls. MTL and selective HC lesions, but not selective amygdala lesions, increased approach decision when possible loss was high. In contrast, MTL and selective amygdala lesions, but not selective HC lesions, increased return latency. Additionally, selective HC and selective amygdala lesions reduced approach latency. In a task targeted at revealing subjective assumptions about the structure of the computer game, MTL and selective HC lesions impacted on reaction time generation but not on the subjective task structure. We conclude that deciding to approach reward under threat relies on hippocampus but not amygdala, whereas vigor of returning to safety depends on amygdala but not on hippocampus.

Type: Article
Title: Disentangling Hippocampal and Amygdala Contribution to Human Anxiety-Like Behavior
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0412-19.2019
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0412-19.2019
Language: English
Additional information: © 2019 Bach et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: anxiety-like behavior, approach decision, approach-avoidance conflict, clinical lesion models, double-dissociation, escape vigor
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10086348
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