•Central extended amygdala includes portions of the amygdala (Ce) and lateral BST.
•Central extended amygdala regions share connectivity and gene expression patterns.
•Animal studies show central extended amygdala to be involved in threat processing.
•Human functional imaging studies are beginning to translate these animal findings.
•Maladaptive central extended amygdala function may underlie stress-related psychopathology.
The central extended amygdala is an evolutionarily conserved set of interconnected brain regions that play an important role in threat processing to promote survival. Two core components of the central extended amygdala, the central nucleus of the amygdala (Ce) and the lateral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BST) are highly similar regions that serve complimentary roles by integrating fear- and anxiety-relevant information. Survival depends on the ability of the central extended amygdala to rapidly integrate and respond to threats that vary in their immediacy, proximity, and characteristics. Future studies will benefit from understanding alterations in central extended amygdala function in relation to stress-related psychopathology.