The central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) serves as a major output of this structure and plays a critical role in the expression of conditioned fear. By combining cell- and tissue-specific pharmacogenetic inhibition with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we identified circuits downstream of CeA that control fear expression in mice. Selective inhibition of a subset of neurons in CeA led to decreased conditioned freezing behavior and increased cortical arousal as visualized by fMRI. Correlation analysis of fMRI signals identified functional connectivity between CeA, cholinergic forebrain nuclei, and activated cortical structures, and cortical arousal was blocked by cholinergic antagonists. Importantly, inhibition of these neurons switched behavioral responses to the fear stimulus from passive to active responses. Our findings identify a neural circuit in CeA that biases fear responses toward either passive or active coping strategies.

A Neural Switch for Active and Passive Fear

GIOVANNELLI, ALDO;
2010

Abstract

The central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) serves as a major output of this structure and plays a critical role in the expression of conditioned fear. By combining cell- and tissue-specific pharmacogenetic inhibition with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we identified circuits downstream of CeA that control fear expression in mice. Selective inhibition of a subset of neurons in CeA led to decreased conditioned freezing behavior and increased cortical arousal as visualized by fMRI. Correlation analysis of fMRI signals identified functional connectivity between CeA, cholinergic forebrain nuclei, and activated cortical structures, and cortical arousal was blocked by cholinergic antagonists. Importantly, inhibition of these neurons switched behavioral responses to the fear stimulus from passive to active responses. Our findings identify a neural circuit in CeA that biases fear responses toward either passive or active coping strategies.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11697/7544
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 138
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 127
social impact