Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Neural pathways governing switching of fear responses in zebrafish identified

Date:
October 12, 2010
Source:
RIKEN
Summary:
A new study on the behavior of the zebrafish has uncovered a key role for a region of the brain on the development of fear responses. The discovery provides valuable insights applicable to the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental illnesses.

Neural circuit from lateral subnuclei of habenula to region for fear-behavior modulation.
Credit: RIKEN

A new study on the behavior of the zebrafish by researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute has uncovered a key role for a region of the brain called the habenula nucleus in the development of fear responses. The discovery provides valuable insights applicable to the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental illnesses.

Related Articles


The survival of any living organism is crucially dependent on the actions it takes when faced with fearful situations. Fear responses are likewise important to the social well-being of human beings, where its malfunction has been linked to a variety of mental disorders. Yet while numerous brain regions have been connected to the memory of fearful experiences, the neural pathways governing how such experiences are translated into the selection of behavior remain a mystery.

To unravel this mystery, the researchers analyzed neural pathways of the zebrafish, a model organism with a simple brain, focusing on an evolutionarily-conserved region called the habenula nucleus present in all vertebrate species. Using fluorescent tracers, they identified a specific pathway connecting the lateral nuclei of the habenula (HbL), via the dorsal interpeduncular nucleus (dIPN), to a structure likely to correspond to regions in the mammalian brain implicated in the modulation of fear behaviors. Transgenic zebrafish with this pathway silenced were then subject to fear-conditioning tasks and compared to a control population.

To their surprise, the researchers found a dramatic difference between the groups: while normal zebrafish learned to invoke a flight response at the sight of a stimulus (red light, conditioned stimulus) associated with a fearful stimulus (electric shock, unconditioned stimulus), the transgenic fish responded by freezing, indicating an impaired response strategy. Published in Nature Neuroscience, the findings for the first time connect the experience-dependent selection of fear responses to a specific region of the brain, opening new paths for research and promising insights into related mental disorders such as PTSD.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Masakazu Agetsuma, Hidenori Aizawa, Tazu Aoki, Ryoko Nakayama, Mikako Takahoko, Midori Goto, Takayuki Sassa, Ryunosuke Amo, Toshiyuki Shiraki, Koichi Kawakami, Toshihiko Hosoya, Shin-ichi Higashijima, Hitoshi Okamoto. The habenula is crucial for experience-dependent modification of fear responses in zebrafish. Nature Neuroscience, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/nn.2654

Cite This Page:

RIKEN. "Neural pathways governing switching of fear responses in zebrafish identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101011081908.htm>.
RIKEN. (2010, October 12). Neural pathways governing switching of fear responses in zebrafish identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101011081908.htm
RIKEN. "Neural pathways governing switching of fear responses in zebrafish identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101011081908.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bionic Ants Could Be Tomorrow's Factory Workers

Bionic Ants Could Be Tomorrow's Factory Workers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) Industrious 3D printed bionic ants working together could toil in the factories of the future, says German technology company Festo. The robotic insects cooperate and coordinate their actions and movements to achieve a common aim. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Captive-Born Panda Triplets Are Eight Months Old

Captive-Born Panda Triplets Are Eight Months Old

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) The world&apos;s only surviving captivity-born panda triplets turn eight months old, according to China’s state media. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lions Make Surprise Comeback in Gabon

Lions Make Surprise Comeback in Gabon

AFP (Mar. 30, 2015) Lions have made a comeback in southeast Gabon, after disappearing for years, according to live footage from US wildlife organisation Panthera. Duration: 00:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ancient Egyptian Beer Making Vessels Discovered in Israel

Ancient Egyptian Beer Making Vessels Discovered in Israel

AFP (Mar. 30, 2015) Fragments of pottery used by Egyptians to make beer and dating back 5,000 years have been discovered on a building site in Tel Aviv, the Israeli Antiquities Authority said on Sunday. Duration: 00:51 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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