University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Seminars > New approaches to old problems in behavioral neuroscience: The role of locus coeruleus in anxiety and cognitive control

New approaches to old problems in behavioral neuroscience: The role of locus coeruleus in anxiety and cognitive control

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Lorraine Coulson.

The noradrenergic locus coeruleus (LC) has long been known to participate in a variety of autonomic and cognitive functions. However, past research has not been able to reach unanimous consensus around the specific effects of LC neurons manipulation on behavior, also due to technical difficulties. Modern neuroscientific techniques allow the perturbation and recording of genetically-defined neural ensembles with great spatial and temporal specificity, thus overcoming several limitations of the past. By combining optogenetic tools with both classic and novel behavioral essays, I have investigated the effects of LC neurons manipulation on anxiety, attention and impulsivity in order to shed some light on long-standing debates in the field of neuromodulation. I will show that, as expected, LC activation improves attention and impulsivity, but contrary to a widely popular belief, stimulation of the LC decreases anxiety-like behavior in a norepinephrine transporter (NET)-cre mouse. Finally I will illustrate ongoing viral tracing experiments aimed at the neuroanatomical dissection of prefrontal cortical top-down control over LC neurons activity.

This talk is part of the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Seminars series.

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