Researchers examine the how fear responses are learned, controlled, and memorized. They show that a particular class of neurons in a subdivision of the amygdala plays an active role in these processes.
Neurons in an area of the brain commonly associated with fear drive pleasure seeking behaviors, a new study reports.
According to a new study, alcohol increases neural activity in the central amygdala.
Using optogenetics to stimulate the amygdala, researchers intensify the desire to consume cocaine in rats.
Optogenetic inactivation of CRF neurons in the central nucleus of the amygdala decreases escalation of alcohol consumption and intensity of withdrawal in rodent models of alcoholism. The findings suggest a potential target for treating excessive drinking in alcohol use disorder.
Administering oxytocin blocks the enhanced motivation for drinking alcohol that fuels alcohol use disorder by blocking GABA signaling in the central nucleus of the amygdala.
Prepronociceptin expressing neurons in the central amygdala become activated by consuming palatable foods. Reducing nociceptin making neurons in mice reduced binge eating when the animals had access to calorie-rich foods, without affecting the intake of ordinary dietary needs. The finding could help in the development of new therapies to combat obesity and binge eating.
A combination of chronic stress and high-calorie diets raised insulin levels tenfold in the amygdala of mice. Prolonged high levels of insulin in the central amygdala resulted in neurons becoming desensitized to insulin. The desensitized neurons boosted NPY levels, which promoted eating and reduced the normal homeostasis response to burn calories. The findings may shed light on why some indulge in high-calorie foods when stressed, and why this may lead to obesity.
Teenage binge drinking is linked to altered gene expression in the brain, specifically the central nucleus of the amygdala. Adolescent rats exposed to alcohol had increased levels of miR-137, resulting in lower expression of proteins essential for healthy neuron growth. During adulthood, these rats displayed higher levels of anxiety and an increased preference for alcohol consumption.