Activation of septal OXTr neurons induces anxiety- but not depressive-like behaviors

Tuanjie Huang, Fangxia Guan, Julio Licinio, Ma Li Wong, Yunlei Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The neuropeptide oxytocin (OXT) is well recognized for eliciting anxiolytic effects and promoting social reward. However, emerging evidence shows that OXT increases aversive events. These seemingly inconsistent results may be attributable to the broad OXT receptor (OXTr) expression in the central nervous system. This study selectively activated septal neurons expressing OXTr using chemogenetics. We found that chemogenetic activation of septal OXTr neurons induced anxiety- but not depressive-like behavior. In addition, septal OXTr neurons projected dense fibers to the horizontal diagonal band of Broca (HDB), and selective stimulation of those HDB projections also elicited anxiety-like behaviors. We also found that septal OXTr neurons express the vesicular GABA transporter (vGAT) protein and optogenetic stimulation of septal OXTr projections to the HDB inactivated HDB neurons. Our data collectively reveal that septal OXTr neurons increase anxiety by projecting inhibitory GABAergic inputs to the HDB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7270-7279
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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