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(p. 121) Stress-Sensitive Brain Circuits 

(p. 121) Stress-Sensitive Brain Circuits
Chapter:
(p. 121) Stress-Sensitive Brain Circuits
Author(s):

Richard McCarty

DOI:
10.1093/med-psych/9780190697266.003.0005
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date: 25 May 2020

A series of forebrain, midbrain, and brainstem nuclei exert stimulatory or inhibitory effects on sympathetic outflow from the intermediolateral cell column in thoracic and lumbar areas of the spinal cord. Some of these brain areas contain cell bodies that serve as command neurons that can simultaneously activate sympathetic outflow to multiple target tissues. CRF-containing cell bodies in the paraventricular nuclei receive multiple direct and indirect inputs from various brain areas that participate in the regulation of the HPA axis. Hormones of the adrenal cortex have been shown to exert damaging structural effects on the structure of neurons in the hippocampus and amygdala. The immune system is stress-responsive, and circulating immune cells and proinflammatory cytokines are able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier during exposure to stressors. Brain microglia appear to serve as neuroimmune sensors of stress. Optogenetic and chemogenetic techniques have been essential tools in probing the functions of stress-responsive brain circuits and their impact on behavior.

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