26 October 2018

Ron Stoop

Neuroscience Symposium

The Neuroscience Symposia are organized weekly by the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience. The presentations are given by researchers from the institute or by guest speakers. The title and content of the symposium is usually made known in the week prior to the presentation.

Colloquium room – Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience

Guest speaker Dries Kalsbeek

4:00 pm – Pathways in the Amygdala underlying Oxytocin Modulation of Fear and Escape

The amygdala plays an important role for detecting stimuli that signal threat and for initiating an adapted fear response. In the classical view, the association between the threat-signaling stimulus and the threat is made in the basolateral nuclei that subsequently activate the central nucleus which projects to brain stem centers that trigger the expression of fear (e.g. freezing, heart rate changes, blood pressure and startle reactivity). In my talk, I will provide evidence for an inhibitory pathway within the central nucleus that can be modulated by neuropeptides such as oxytocin and vasopressin and that can also be rapidly activated by the basolateral part of the amygdala. I will show that, in a learning protocol to escape from imminent but escapable threat, this latter pathway is potentiated and that its chemogenetic inactivation can, conversely, block the escape response. Thus, it appears that through the parallel operation of excitatory and inhibitory pathways between basolateral and central amygdala the behavioral response can, depending on the level of the threat, rapidly switch from freezing to escape.

4:45 pm – Discussion and drinks