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Optogenetics and behavior

Pinelopi Pliota, Vincent Böhm, Florian Grössl, Johannes Griessner, Ornella Valenti, Klaus Kraitsy, Joanna Kaczanowska, Manuel Pasieka, Thomas Lendl, Jan M Deussing, Wulf Haubensak
Survival relies on optimizing behavioral responses through experience. Animals often react to acute stress by switching to passive behavioral responses when coping with environmental challenge. Despite recent advances in dissecting mammalian circuitry for Pavlovian fear, the neuronal basis underlying this form of non-Pavlovian anxiety-related behavioral plasticity remains poorly understood. Here, we report that aversive experience recruits the posterior paraventricular thalamus (PVT) and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and sensitizes a Pavlovian fear circuit to promote passive responding...
June 14, 2018: Molecular Psychiatry
Young-Cho Kim, Nandakumar S Narayanan
Considerable evidence has shown that prefrontal neurons expressing D1-type dopamine receptors (D1DRs) are critical for working memory, flexibility, and timing. This line of work predicts that frontal neurons expressing D1DRs mediate cognitive processing. During timing tasks, one form this cognitive processing might take is time-dependent ramping activity-monotonic changes in firing rate over time. Thus, we hypothesized the prefrontal D1DR+ neurons would strongly exhibit time-dependent ramping during interval timing...
June 12, 2018: Cerebral Cortex
Emily T Baltz, Ege A Yalcinbas, Rafael Renteria, Christina M Gremel
Recent hypotheses have posited that orbital frontal cortex (OFC) is important for using inferred consequences to guide behavior. Less clear is OFC's contribution to goal-directed or model-based behavior, where the decision to act is controlled by previous experience with the consequence or outcome. Investigating OFC's role in learning about changed outcomes separate from decision-making is not trivial and often the two are confounded. Here we adapted an incentive learning task to mice, where we investigated processes controlling experience-based outcome updating independent from inferred action control...
June 13, 2018: ELife
Yoshio Sakurai, Yuma Osako, Yuta Tanisumi, Eriko Ishihara, Junya Hirokawa, Hiroyuki Manabe
In this review article we focus on research methodologies for detecting the actual activity of cell assemblies, which are populations of functionally connected neurons that encode information in the brain. We introduce and discuss traditional and novel experimental methods and those currently in development and briefly discuss their advantages and disadvantages for the detection of cell-assembly activity. First, we introduce the electrophysiological method, i.e., multineuronal recording, and review former and recent examples of studies showing models of dynamic coding by cell assemblies in behaving rodents and monkeys...
2018: Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience
Christopher Engelhard, Igor Chizhov, Friedrich Siebert, Martin Engelhard
Early research on the four microbial rhodopsins discovered in the archaeal Halobacterium salinarum revealed a structural template that served as a scaffold for two different functions: light-driven ion transport and phototaxis. Bacteriorhodopsin and halorhodopsin are proton and chloride pumps, respectively, while sensory rhodopsin I and II are responsible for phototactic behavior of the archaea. Halorhodopsins have been identified in various other species. Besides this group of archaeal halorhodopsins distinct chloride transporting rhodopsins groups have recently been identified in other organism like Flavobacteria or Cyanobacteria...
June 8, 2018: Chemical Reviews
Sebastien Delcasso, Sachira Denagamage, Zelie Britton, Ann M Graybiel
Understanding the neural mechanisms underlying human cognition and determining the causal factors for the development of brain pathologies are among the greatest challenges for society. Electrophysiological recordings offer remarkable observations of brain activity as they provide highly precise representations of information coding in both temporal and spatial domains. With the development of genetic tools over the last decades, mice have been a key model organism in neuroscience. However, conducting chronic in vivo electrophysiology in awake, behaving mice remains technically challenging, and this difficulty prevents many research teams from acquiring critical recordings in their mouse models...
2018: Frontiers in Neural Circuits
Nao Utashiro, Claire R Williams, Jay Z Parrish, Kazuo Emoto
Animal responses to their environment rely on activation of sensory neurons by external stimuli. In many sensory systems, however, neurons display basal activity prior to the external stimuli. This prior activity is thought to modulate neural functions, yet its impact on animal behavior remains elusive. Here, we reveal a potential role for prior activity in olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) in shaping larval olfactory behavior. We show that prior activity in larval ORNs is mediated by the olfactory receptor complex (OR complex)...
June 5, 2018: Scientific Reports
Nicola Solari, Katalin Sviatkó, Tamás Laszlovszky, Panna Hegedüs, Balázs Hangya
Understanding how the brain controls behavior requires observing and manipulating neural activity in awake behaving animals. Neuronal firing is timed at millisecond precision. Therefore, to decipher temporal coding, it is necessary to monitor and control animal behavior at the same level of temporal accuracy. However, it is technically challenging to deliver sensory stimuli and reinforcers as well as to read the behavioral responses they elicit with millisecond precision. Presently available commercial systems often excel in specific aspects of behavior control, but they do not provide a customizable environment allowing flexible experimental design while maintaining high standards for temporal control necessary for interpreting neuronal activity...
2018: Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience
Brielle R Ferguson, Wen-Jun Gao
Elucidating the prefrontal cortical microcircuit has been challenging, given its role in multiple complex behaviors, including working memory, cognitive flexibility, attention, social interaction and emotional regulation. Additionally, previous methodological limitations made it difficult to parse out the contribution of certain neuronal subpopulations in refining cortical representations. However, growing evidence supports a fundamental role of fast-spiking parvalbumin (PV) GABAergic interneurons in regulating pyramidal neuron activity to drive appropriate behavioral responses...
2018: Frontiers in Neural Circuits
Rafael C Almada, Andreas J Genewsky, Daniel E Heinz, Paul M Kaplick, Norberto C Coimbra, Carsten T Wotjak
Defensive behavioral responses are essential for survival in threating situations. The superior colliculus (SC) has been implicated in the generation of defensive behaviors elicited by visual, tactile and auditory stimuli. Furthermore, substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr) neurons are known to exert a modulatory effect on midbrain tectum neural substrates. However, the functional role of this nigrotectal pathway in threating situations is still poorly understood. Using optogenetics in freely behaving mice, we activated SNr projections at the level of the SC, and assessed consequences on behavioral performance in an open field test (OFT) and the beetle mania task (BMT)...
2018: Frontiers in Neural Circuits
Erin Glennon, Ioana Carcea, Ana Raquel O Martins, Jasmin Multani, Ina Shehu, Mario A Svirsky, Robert C Froemke
Neural representations of the external world are constructed and updated in a manner that depends on behavioral context. For neocortical networks, this contextual information is relayed by a diverse range of neuromodulatory systems, which govern attention and signal the value of internal state variables such as arousal, motivation, and stress. Neuromodulators enable cortical circuits to differentially process specific stimuli and modify synaptic strengths in order to maintain short- or long-term memory traces of significant perceptual events and behavioral episodes...
May 31, 2018: Brain Research
Maria M Diehl, Christian Bravo-Rivera, Jose Rodriguez-Romaguera, Pablo A Pagan-Rivera, Anthony Burgos-Robles, Ciorana Roman-Ortiz, Gregory J Quirk
Much is known about the neural circuits of conditioned fear and its relevance to understanding anxiety disorders, but less is known about other anxiety-related behaviors such as active avoidance. Using a tone-signaled, platform-mediated avoidance task, we observed that pharmacological inactivation of the prelimbic prefrontal cortex (PL) delayed avoidance. Surprisingly, optogenetic silencing of PL glutamatergic neurons did not delay avoidance. Consistent with this, inhibitory but not excitatory responses of rostral PL neurons were associated with avoidance training...
May 31, 2018: ELife
Jun Qian, Wei Wu, Wenhui Xiong, Zhi Chai, Xiao-Ming Xu, Xiaoming Jin
Current evaluation of impairment and repair after spinal cord injury (SCI) is largely dependent on behavioral assessment and histological analysis of injured tissue and pathways. Here we evaluated whether transcranial optogenetic mapping of motor cortex could reflect longitudinal structural and functional damage and recovery after SCI. In Thy1-Channelrhodopsin2 transgenic mice, repeated motor mappings were made by recording optogenetically-evoked electromyograms (EMGs) of a hindlimb at baseline and 1 day, and 2, 4, and 6 weeks after mild, moderate, and severe spinal cord contusion...
May 31, 2018: Journal of Neurotrauma
R L Tom, A Ahuja, H Maniates, C M Freeland, M J F Robinson
Drug and behavioral addictions are characterized by an intense and focused pursuit of a single reward above all others. Pursuit of the addictive reward is often compulsively sought despite adverse consequences and better alternative outcomes. Here we explored the ability of the central amygdala (CeA) to powerfully bias choice, causing specific rewards to be almost compulsively preferred. Rats were trained on an operant choice task in which they could choose to respond on either of two levers to receive a sucrose reward, one of which was paired with optogenetic stimulation of the CeA using channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2)...
May 23, 2018: European Journal of Neuroscience
Payal A Makadia, Sarah A Najjar, Jami L Saloman, Peter Adelman, Bin Feng, Joseph F Margiotta, Kathryn M Albers, Brian M Davis
Epithelial cells of the colon provide a vital interface between the internal environment (lumen of the colon) and colon parenchyma. To examine epithelial-neuronal signaling at this interface, we analyzed mice in which channelrhodopsin (ChR2) was targeted to either TRPV1-positive afferents or to villin expressing colon epithelial cells. Expression of a ChR2-EYFP fusion protein was directed to either primary sensory neurons or to colon epithelial cells by crossing Ai32 mice with TRPV1-Cre or villin-Cre mice, respectively...
May 22, 2018: Journal of Neuroscience: the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Yeowool Huh, Dahee Jung, Taeyoon Seo, Sukkyu Sun, Su Hyun Kim, Hyewhon Rhim, Sooyoung Chung, Chong-Hyun Kim, Youngwoo Kwon, Marom Bikson, Yong-An Chung, Jeansok J Kim, Jeiwon Cho
BACKGROUND: The bursting pattern of thalamocortical (TC) pathway dampens nociception. Whether brain stimulation mimicking endogenous patterns can engage similar sensory gating processes in the cortex and reduce nociceptive behaviors remains uninvestigated. OBJECTIVE: We investigated the role of cortical parvalbumin expressing (PV) interneurons within the TC circuit in gating nociception and their selective response to TC burst patterns. We then tested if transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) patterned on endogenous nociceptive TC bursting modulate nociceptive behaviors...
May 18, 2018: Brain Stimulation
Carina Soares-Cunha, Bárbara Coimbra, Ana Verónica Domingues, Nivaldo Vasconcelos, Nuno Sousa, Ana João Rodrigues
The nucleus accumbens (NAc) plays a central role in reinforcement and motivation. Around 95% of the NAc neurons are medium spiny neurons (MSNs), divided into those expressing dopamine receptor D1 (D1R) or dopamine receptor D2 (D2R). Optogenetic activation of D2-MSNs increased motivation, whereas inhibition of these neurons produced the opposite effect. Yet, it is still unclear how activation of D2-MSNs affects other local neurons/interneurons or input terminals and how this contributes for motivation enhancement...
March 2018: ENeuro
Claudio A Villalobos, Qiong Wu, Psyche H Lee, Paul J May, Michele A Basso
The mammalian superior colliculus (SC) is a sensorimotor midbrain structure responsible for orienting behaviors. Although many SC features are known, details of its intrinsic microcircuits are lacking. We used transgenic mice expressing reporter genes in parvalbumin-positive (PV+ ) and gamma aminobutyric acid-positive (GABA+ ) neurons to test the hypothesis that PV+ neurons co-localize GABA and form inhibitory circuits within the SC. We found more PV+ neurons in the superficial compared to the intermediate SC, although a larger percentage of PV+ neurons co-expressed GABA in the latter...
2018: Frontiers in Neural Circuits
Yuanzhong Kai, Yanhua Li, Tingting Sun, Weiwei Yin, Yu Mao, Jie Li, Wen Xie, Shi Chen, Likui Wang, Juan Li, Zhi Zhang, Wenjuan Tao
Recent studies have shown that persistent pain facilitates the response to morphine reward. However, the circuit mechanism underlying this process remains ambiguous. In this study, using chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve in mice, we found that persistent neuropathic pain reduced the minimum number of morphine conditioning sessions required to induce conditioned place preference (CPP) behavior. This dose of morphine had no effect on the pain threshold. In the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), which is involved in both pain and emotion processing, corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) expressing neuronal activity was increased in CCI mice...
May 21, 2018: Translational Psychiatry
Eleanor C Sandhu, Anushka B P Fernando, Elaine E Irvine, Kyoko Tossell, Michelle Kokkinou, Justyna Glegola, Mark A Smith, Oliver D Howes, Dominic J Withers, Mark A Ungless
Salt intake is an essential dietary requirement, but excessive consumption is implicated in hypertension and associated conditions. Little is known about the neural circuit mechanisms that control motivation to consume salt, although the midbrain dopamine system, which plays a key role in other reward-related behaviors, has been implicated. We, therefore, examined the effects on salt consumption of either optogenetic excitation or chemogenetic inhibition of ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine neurons in male mice...
March 2018: ENeuro
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