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The hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) expresses multiple neuropeptides and plays an essential role in several physiological processes. Among the brain areas directly projecting to the PVN are deep brain structures closely related to instinctive behavior. Moreover, the PVN neurons can project abundant axons to multiple downstream brain regions and are key components of the stress response. Accordingly, PVN malfunction is implicated in stress-related psychiatric diseases. When facing stressors, the PVN releases neuropeptides into the pituitary, activating the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenocortical axis to regulate blood pressure, energy metabolism, and electrolyte balance. This review summarizes the physiological functions of PVN-related neural circuits and neuropeptides, as well as their role in anxiety, which may provide insights into the mechanism of stress-related psychiatric disorders assisting in the development of new treatments.


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Role of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus in anxiety disorders

Show Author's information Chen Wu1,2( )Mario A. Zetter3
Department of Neurology, Children's Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou 310052, China
NHC and CAMS Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology, MOE Frontier Science Center for Brain Research and Brain-Machine Integration, School of Brain Science and Brain Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City 04510, Mexico

Abstract

The hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) expresses multiple neuropeptides and plays an essential role in several physiological processes. Among the brain areas directly projecting to the PVN are deep brain structures closely related to instinctive behavior. Moreover, the PVN neurons can project abundant axons to multiple downstream brain regions and are key components of the stress response. Accordingly, PVN malfunction is implicated in stress-related psychiatric diseases. When facing stressors, the PVN releases neuropeptides into the pituitary, activating the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenocortical axis to regulate blood pressure, energy metabolism, and electrolyte balance. This review summarizes the physiological functions of PVN-related neural circuits and neuropeptides, as well as their role in anxiety, which may provide insights into the mechanism of stress-related psychiatric disorders assisting in the development of new treatments.

Keywords:

anxiety disorders, hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus, hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenocortical axis, neural circuit, neuropeptide
Received: 02 September 2022 Revised: 14 September 2022 Accepted: 26 September 2022 Published: 26 October 2022 Issue date: September 2022
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Received: 02 September 2022
Revised: 14 September 2022
Accepted: 26 September 2022
Published: 26 October 2022
Issue date: September 2022

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© The Author(s) 2022

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Acknowledgements

We thank Prof. Xiao-Dong Wang from Zhejiang University School of Medicine for his critical reading of the manuscript. This work was supported by the UNAM-DGAPA-POSDOC program.

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Creative Commons Non Commercial CC BY-NC: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attributtion-NonCommercial 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission.

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