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Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Jun 2023 - 30 Jun 2023

Basic Science, Psychology

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology, Neuroimaging


2023 Jun 16



A neural circuit for regulating a behavioral switch in response to prolonged uncontrollability in mice.


Li C, Sun T, Zhang Y, Gao Y, Sun Z, Li W, Cheng H, Gu Y, Abumaria N


Persistence in the face of failure helps to overcome challenges. But the ability to adjust behavior or even give up when the task is uncontrollable has advantages. How the mammalian brain switches behavior when facing uncontrollability remains an open question. We generated two mouse models of behavioral transition from action to no-action during exposure to a prolonged experience with an uncontrollable outcome. The transition was not caused by pain desensitization or muscle fatigue and was not a depression-/learned-helplessness-like behavior. Noradrenergic neurons projecting to GABAergic neurons within the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) are key regulators of this behavior. Fiber photometry, microdialysis, mini-two-photon microscopy, and tetrode/optrode in vivo recording in freely behaving mice revealed that the reduction of norepinephrine and downregulation of alpha 1 receptor in the OFC reduced the number and activity of GABAergic neurons necessary for driving action behavior resulting in behavioral transition. These findings define a circuit governing behavioral switch in response to prolonged uncontrollability.