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Researchers find mice's brain changes following trauma




Israeli researchers have discovered how experiencing an adverse event makes mice's brains perceive a previously non-threatening stimulus as a danger and activates a stronger escape behavior.

In a statement on Sunday, the University of Haifa noted that the findings, recently published in Nature Communications, may improve diagnosis and lead to new techniques for repairing and reversing functioning difficulties caused by trauma events.

Experimenting on male mice, the researchers found that those exposed to a shock escaped more frequently and earlier from previously non-threatening stimuli, long after the shock event.

Then, using light to control neurons, they traced the changes to a group of neurons in the superior colliculus (SC), a key subcortical structure managing mice's escape behavior.

Specifically, the SC neurons receive input from certain neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), both directly and indirectly. Those mPFC neurons can initiate escape from a perceived threat, and acquired alterations during adversity make them more prone to activate earlier escape on SC neurons.

Aside from proving these neurons are vital for triggering the safety response to trauma, researchers also showed that the activation of this system in non-traumatized mice is enough to trigger a safety response.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency
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