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JYMS : Journal of Yeungnam Medical Science

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HOME > J Yeungnam Med Sci > Volume 16(1); 1999 > Article
Review Brain Benzodiazepine-like Molecules and Stress-anxiety Response.
Jeoung Hee Ha
Journal of Yeungnam Medical Science 1999;16(1):25-33
Published online: June 30, 1999
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Department of Pharmacology College of Medicine, Yeungnam University, Taegu, Korea.

Benzodiazepines(BZDs) are among the widely prescribed drugs in the world. They are potent anxiolytic, antiepileptic, hypnotic, and muscle relaxing agents. There is an emerging model of the role of several neural systems in anxiety and their relation to the mechanism of action of BZDs. It has been postulated that BZD drugs exert their anxiolytic action by regulating GABAergic transmission in limbic areas such as the amygdala, in the posterior hypothalamus, and in the raphe nuclei. The involvement of the amygdala in the behaviors triggered by fear and stress has been suggested by many previous studies. In this review, reports about regulatory effects of endogenous BZD receptor ligands on the perception of anxiety and memory consolidation were summerized. These findings further support the contention that BZD receptor ligands modulate memory consolidation of averse learning tasks by influencing the level of stress and/or anxiety that accompanies a learning experience. The findings suggest that the decrease in the limbic levels of BZD-like molecules seen after the various behavioral procedures represent a general response to stress and/or anxiety, since it occurs in proportion to the level of stress and/or anxiety that accompany these tasks. In addition, these findings further support the hypothesis that the GABAA/BZD receptor complex in limbic structures plays a pivotal role in the stress and anxiety.

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