How the Brain Gathers Threat Cues and Turns Them Into Fear - Neuroscience News

How the Brain Gathers Threat Cues and Turns Them Into Fear - Neuroscience News

How the Brain Gathers Threat Cues and Turns Them Into Fear - Neuroscience News
Aug 17, 2022 2 mins, 1 sec

– Neurology research can include information involving brain research, neurological disorders, medicine, brain cancer, peripheral nervous systems, central nervous systems, nerve damage, brain tumors, seizures, neurosurgery, electrophysiology, BMI, brain injuries, paralysis and spinal cord treatments.

Summary: CGRP neurons found in subregions of the thalamus and brainstem relay multisensory threat information to the amygdala.

A molecule called CGRP enables neurons in two separate areas of the brain to bundle threatening sensory cues into a unified signal, tag it as negative and convey it to the amygdala, which translates the signal into fear.

Previous research showed that different pathways independently relay sound, sight, and touch threat cues to multiple brain areas.

Previous research also showed that the amygdala, which initiates behavioral responses and forms fear memories to environmental and emotional stimuli, receives heavy input from brain regions that are laden with a chemical associated with aversion, the neuropeptide CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide).

“Based on these two pools of research, we proposed that CGRP neurons, found especially in subregions of the thalamus and the brainstem, relay multisensory threat information to the amygdala,” says co-first author Shijia Liu, a graduate student in the Han lab.

They recorded CGRP neuron activity using single-cell calcium imaging while presenting mice with multisensory threat cues, enabling the researchers to pinpoint which sensory modality involved which sets of neurons.

“Drugs that block CGRP have been used to treat migraines, so I’m hoping that our study can be an anchor to use this kind of drug in relieving threat memories in PTSD, or sensory hypersensitivity in autism, too.”.

“A central alarm system that gates multi-sensory innate threat cues to the amygdala” by Sukjae J

A central alarm system that gates multi-sensory innate threat cues to the amygdala

Previous findings suggest that parallel pathways independently relay innate threat signals from different sensory modalities to multiple brain areas, such as the midbrain and hypothalamus, for immediate avoidance

Yet little is known about whether and how multi-sensory innate threat cues are integrated and conveyed from each sensory modality to the amygdala, a critical brain area for threat perception and learning

Here, we report that neurons expressing calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) in the parvocellular subparafascicular nucleus in the thalamus and external lateral parabrachial nucleus in the brainstem respond to multi-sensory threat cues from various sensory modalities and relay negative valence to the lateral and central amygdala, respectively

Both CGRP populations and their amygdala projections are required for multi-sensory threat perception and aversive memory formation

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