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Central Amygdala Discovery Efforts in Primates Reveals New Clues on Anxious Temperament

      Our brains are built to consider and reflect on the unknown. These adaptive features protect us from potential threats in dynamic and complex environments, but they can also lead us to perseverate on perceived threats and fear an unknown future. Ranging across a spectrum from adaptive to maladaptive, anxious and fearful behavior exists in many animal species. In an effort to develop new therapeutics and understand the etiology of anxiety-related conditions, such as anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder, research using laboratory animal models has focused on the genetic, molecular, cellular, and brain systems contribution to anxiety and fear. Persistent debates on the translational validity of animal models—including worms, flies, fish, mice, and primates—demonstrate that research efforts should not be monolithic and that diversity and convergence in observed mechanisms across species, subspecies, and strains is an important factor in the collective effort to identify evolutionarily conserved pathways to select as translational targets.
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