Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibition prevents stress induced amygdala activation and anxiety-like behavior

Amanda Morgan, Andrew Gaulden, Megan Altemus, Kellie Williford, Samuel Centanni, Danny Winder, Sachin Patel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Stress is a major risk factor for the development and exacerbation of mood and anxiety disorders, and recent studies have suggested inflammatory contributions to the pathogenesis of depression. Interestingly, pharmacological inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) has shown promise in the treatment of affective disorders in small scale clinical studies; however, the mechanisms by which COX-2 inhibition affects behavioral domains relevant to affective disorders are not well understood. Here, we examined the effects of pharmacological inhibition of COX-2 with the highly selective inhibitor Lumiracoxib (LMX) on anxiety-like behavior and in vivo basolateral amygdala (BLA) neural activity in response to acute restraint stress exposure. In male mice, pretreatment with LMX prevented the increase in BLA calcium transients induced by restraint stress and prevented anxiogenic behavior seen after restraint stress exposure. Specifically, acute injection of LMX 5 mg kg−1 reduced anxiety-like behavior in the light–dark box (LD) and elevated-zero maze (EZM). In addition, in vivo fiber photometry studies showed that acute stress increased calcium transients and the predicted action potential frequency of BLA neurons, which was also normalized by acute LMX pretreatment. These findings indicate pharmacological inhibition of COX-2 can prevent acute stress-induced increase in BLA cellular activity and anxiety-like behavior and provides insights into the neural mechanisms by which COX-2 inhibition could affect anxiety domain symptoms in patients with affective disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-517
Number of pages5
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
StatePublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Basolateral amygdala
  • Depression
  • Fiber photometry
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Immunology


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