Glutamate Within the Marmoset Anterior Hippocampus Interacts with Area 25 to Regulate the Behavioral and Cardiovascular Correlates of High-Trait Anxiety.


High-trait anxiety is a risk factor for the development of affective disorders and has been associated with decreased cardiovascular and behavioral responsivity to acute stressors in humans that may increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Although human neuroimaging studies of high-trait anxiety reveals dysregulation in primate cingulate areas 25 and 32 and the anterior hippocampus (aHipp) and rodent studies reveal the importance of aHipp glutamatergic hypofunction, the causal involvement of aHipp glutamate and its interaction with these areas in the primate brain is unknown. Accordingly, we correlated marmoset trait anxiety scores to their postmortem aHipp glutamate levels and showed that low glutamate in the right aHipp is associated with high-trait anxiety in marmosets. Moreover, pharmacologically increasing aHipp glutamate reduced anxiety levels in highly anxious marmosets in two uncertainty-based tests of anxiety: exposure to a human intruder with uncertain intent and unpredictable loud noise. In the human intruder test, increasing aHipp glutamate decreased anxiety by increasing approach to the intruder. In the unpredictable threat test, animals showed blunted behavioral and cardiovascular responsivity after control infusions, which was normalized by increasing aHipp glutamate. However, this aHipp-mediated anxiolytic effect was blocked by simultaneous pharmacological inactivation of area 25, but not area 32, areas which when inactivated independently reduced and had no effect on anxiety, respectively. These findings provide causal evidence in male and female primates that aHipp glutamatergic hypofunction and its regulation by area 25 contribute to the behavioral and cardiovascular symptoms of endogenous high-trait anxiety.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT High-trait anxiety predisposes sufferers to the development of anxiety and depression. Although neuroimaging of these disorders and rodent modeling implicate dysregulation in hippocampal glutamate and the subgenual/perigenual cingulate cortices (areas 25/32), the causal involvement of these structures in endogenous high-trait anxiety and their interaction are unknown. Here, we demonstrate that increased trait anxiety in marmoset monkeys correlates with reduced hippocampal glutamate and that increasing hippocampal glutamate release in high-trait-anxious monkeys normalizes the aberrant behavioral and cardiovascular responsivity to potential threats. This normalization was blocked by simultaneous inactivation of area 25, but not area 32. These findings provide casual evidence in primates that hippocampal glutamatergic hypofunction regulates endogenous high-trait anxiety and the hippocampal-area 25 circuit is a potential therapeutic target.