Thin graphene oxide nanoflakes modulate glutamatergic synapses in the amygdala cultured circuits: Exploiting synaptic approaches to anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders (ADs) are nervous system maladies involving changes in the amygdala synaptic circuitry, such as an upregulation of excitatory neurotransmission at glutamatergic synapses. In the field of nanotechnology, thin graphene oxide flakes with nanoscale lateral size (s-GO) have shown outstanding promise for the manipulation of excitatory neuronal transmission with high temporal and spatial precision, thus they were considered as ideal candidates for modulating amygdalar glutamatergic transmission. Here, we validated an in vitro model of amygdala circuitry as a screening tool to target synapses, towards development of future ADs treatments. After one week in vitro, dissociated amygdalar neurons reconnected forming functional networks, whose development recapitulated that of the tissue of origin. When acutely applied to these cultures, s-GO flakes induced a selective modification of excitatory activity. This type of interaction between s-GO and amygdalar neurons may form the basis for the exploitation of alternative approaches in the treatment of ADs.