Danger and distress: Parabrachial-extended amygdala circuits

A. A. Jaramillo, J. A. Brown, D. G. Winder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Our understanding of the role of the parabrachial nucleus (PBN) has evolved as technology has advanced, in part due to cell-specific studies and complex behavioral assays. This is reflected in the heterogeneous neuronal populations within the PBN to the extended amygdala (EA) circuits which encompass the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) and central amygdala (CeA) circuitry, as they differentially modulate aspects of behavior in response to diverse threat-like contexts necessary for survival. Here we review how the PBN→CeA and PBN→BNST pathways differentially modulate fear-like behavior, innate and conditioned, through unique changes in neurotransmission in response to stress-inducing contexts. Furthermore, we hypothesize how in specific instances the PBN→CeA and PBN→BNST circuits are redundant and in part intertwined with their respective reciprocal projections. By deconstructing the interoceptive and exteroceptive components of affect- and stress related behavioral paradigms, evidence suggests that the PBN→CeA circuit modulates innate response to physical stimuli and fear conditioning. Conversely, the PBN→BNST circuit modulates distress-like stress in unpredictable contexts. Thereby, the PBN provides a pathway for alarming interoceptive and exteroceptive stimuli to be processed and relayed to the EA to induce stress-relevant affect. Additionally, we provide a framework for future studies to detail the cell-type specific intricacies of PBN→EA circuits in mediating behavioral responses to threats, and the relevance of the PBN in drug-use as it relates to threat and negative reinforcement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108757
StatePublished - Oct 15 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Hyperkatifea
  • Negative affect
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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