The amygdaloid complex and the ventromedial hypothalamus have been implicated in the control of unconditioned fear-related behaviours. The present approach is focused on the role played by connections between telencephalic structures to the diencephalon, such as inputs from the medial nucleus of the amygdaloid complex to the ventromedial hypothalamus involved in the genesis of panic-related behavioural responses. The aim of the present work is to clarify how the medial amygdala could process informations from aversive stimuli and modulate the ventromedial hypothalamus, highlighting the relevance of the pvMEA and the pBMA amygdaloid nuclei and the dorsomedial division of the ventromedial hypothalamus (dmVMH) in the modulation of neural circuits underlying the generation of the defensive behaviour in a dangerous environment. The endocannabinoid neuromodulation of amygdala-hypothalamic connexions will be addressed, using both morphological and pharmacological techniques. Thus, the hypothesis of the present work is that glutamatergic inputs from the pvMEA and pBMA to dmVMH modulate, through endocannabinoid mechanisms via CB1 receptors, panic attack-like responses.
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