The neural circuitry that connects olfactory information about another mouse's sex to decision-making in the brain determines the behavioral outcome as to whether aggression or affection is expressed.
Focusing attention on a neural pathway starting at the periaqueductal grey region of the midbrain, researchers made a novel discovery about how dopamine generates different pain responses in male and female mice. Findings indicate dopamine may reduce pain sensitivity in males, whereas, in females, dopamine helps focus attention elsewhere in the presence of pain.
Oxytocin produced in the BNST increased stress-induced social anxiety behaviors in mice. The findings shed light on why oxytocin can sometimes provoke anti-social effects.
Study provides contrary evidence to existing theory, finding anxiety and fear reflect overlapping neural circuits.
Strengthened amygdala pathways increase aggression in those who have experienced trauma. The findings could lead to new treatments for PTSD.
Turning off kappa opioid receptors in the brain decreases the urge the binge drink. Findings suggest the kappa opioid receptor system is important not only for the negative state of withdrawal but also for driving binge drinking behaviors.
Inhibitory inputs to the neural circuit between the dorsolateral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (dlBNST) to the ventral tegmental area (VTA) increase when a person is in chronic pain. This alteration is mediated by enhanced corticotropin-releasing factor signaling within the dlBNST, leading to suppression of the mesolimbic dopaminergic system. The result is depressive mood and anhedonia associated with chronic pain.
Neurons in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) appear to regulate food intake. The neurons appear to form part of a network that controls appetite loss in mice.