“Because these functions are abnormal in patients with certain psychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia, this work sets the stage for deeper studies into the disorders’ basic mechanisms.”
About this neuroscience research article
Source: Claire Usmar – University of Queensland Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com. Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to University of Queensland. Original Research:Abstract for “Luminance Changes Drive Directional Startle through a Thalamic Pathway” by Lucy A.L. Heap, Gilles Vanwalleghem, Andrew W. Thompson, Itia A. Favre-Bulle, and Ethan K. Scott in Neuron. Published July 5 2018. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2018.06.013
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[cbtabs][cbtab title=”MLA”]University of Queensland”New Brain Pathway for Escaping Predators Discovered.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 5 July 2018. <https://neurosciencenews.com/predator-escape-9517/>.[/cbtab][cbtab title=”APA”]University of Queensland(2018, July 5). New Brain Pathway for Escaping Predators Discovered. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved July 5, 2018 from https://neurosciencenews.com/predator-escape-9517/[/cbtab][cbtab title=”Chicago”]University of Queensland”New Brain Pathway for Escaping Predators Discovered.” https://neurosciencenews.com/predator-escape-9517/ (accessed July 5, 2018).[/cbtab][/cbtabs]
Luminance Changes Drive Directional Startle through a Thalamic Pathway
Highlights •The thalamus responds to looming stimuli and specifically to drops in luminance •Thalamic projection neurons deliver luminance information to the tectum •In the absence of luminance information, escapes are less frequent and nondirectional •Directional visual startle depends on comparisons of luminance across the two eyes
Summary Looming visual stimuli result in escape responses that are conserved from insects to humans. Despite their importance for survival, the circuits mediating visual startle have only recently been explored in vertebrates. Here we show that the zebrafish thalamus is a luminance detector critical to visual escape. Thalamic projection neurons deliver dim-specific information to the optic tectum, and ablations of these projections disrupt normal tectal responses to looms. Without this information, larvae are less likely to escape from dark looming stimuli and lose the ability to escape away from the source of the loom. Remarkably, when paired with an isoluminant loom stimulus to the opposite eye, dimming is sufficient to increase startle probability and to reverse the direction of the escape so that it is toward the loom. We suggest that bilateral comparisons of luminance, relayed from the thalamus to the tectum, facilitate escape responses and are essential for their directionality.