Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Functional connection between hippocampus and cortex modulates anxiety

Date:
February 3, 2010
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
A new study demonstrates that cooperation between the hippocampus, best known for its critical role in learning and memory, and a principal downstream cortical target modulates anxiety-related behaviors in mice. The research provides intriguing insight into how anxiety is processed in the brain and may help to explain what governs anxiety-related behaviors.

A new study demonstrates that cooperation between the hippocampus, best known for its critical role in learning and memory, and a principal downstream cortical target modulates anxiety-related behaviors in mice. The research, published in the January 28th issue of the journal Neuron, provides intriguing insight into how anxiety is processed in the brain and may help to explain what governs anxiety-related behaviors.

Recent research has linked a specific region of the hippocampus, called the ventral hippocampus (vHPC), with anxiety-related behaviors. "While we have known for some time that the vHPC plays a key role in anxiety-like behaviors in rodents, how it does so was unclear," explains senior study author, Dr. Joshua A. Gordon from the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University. "We wondered whether it might influence anxiety by interacting with other brain regions thought to be important."

Dr. Gordon and colleagues tested this hypothesis by recording electrical activity from the vHPC and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in mice as they explored different environments, some of which were known to elicit anxiety. The mPFC was of interest because it was previously shown to play an important role in anxiety and it receives direct input from the vHPC. The researchers looked for a synchronization of brain activity between the brain regions because this is a sign of information transfer or, to put it more simply, that one brain region is talking and the other is listening.

As expected given the fact that they are anatomically connected, brain activity within the vHPC and mPFC were relatively closely synchronized in all environments that the mice explored. Exposure to environments known to generate anxiety increased this synchronization. Specifically, brain activity in the theta-frequency (4-12 Hz) range was affected by anxiety, consistent with previous reports suggesting that theta-frequency synchrony typically mediates communication between the hippocampus and other brain regions. Along with the increase in synchrony, there was also an overall increase in theta-frequency activity in the mPFC that appeared to be involved in the inhibition of exploratory behavior, an anxiety-related response in mice. Interestingly, mice genetically engineered to exhibit increased anxiety exhibited larger theta increases than normal mice.

The results are the first concrete demonstration that the vHPC and the mPFC cooperate during anxiety. "Our findings suggest that the vHPC sends the mPFC large-scale information about the emotional salience of the environment, which allows the mPFC to recognize the environment as threatening," says Dr. Gordon. "The mPFC may in turn modulate other brain areas, such as the amygdala, to produce appropriate defensive and anxiety-related behaviors." The authors point out that additional studies are needed to further explore the significance of the vHPC-mPFC connection and to determine whether similar circuits are operating in humans with anxiety disorders.

The researchers include Avishek Adhikari, Columbia University, New York, NY; Mihir A. Topiwala, Columbia University, New York, NY; and Joshua A. Gordon, Columbia University, New York, NY, The New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Functional connection between hippocampus and cortex modulates anxiety." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100127121526.htm>.
Cell Press. (2010, February 3). Functional connection between hippocampus and cortex modulates anxiety. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100127121526.htm
Cell Press. "Functional connection between hippocampus and cortex modulates anxiety." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100127121526.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins