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Stress-induced modulation of LS circuits for anxiety and social behaviors

Inhibition of the subset of lateral septal (LS) neurons that expresses the type 2 corticotropin-releasing factor receptor (Crfr2) suppresses, while stimulation enhances, persistent stress-induced anxious behaviors. However, it is unknown how stressful stimuli alter natural neural activity patterns in LS Crfr2-expressing neurons to tune the severity of stress-induced behavioral states, or how variability in these patterns may give rise to individual differences in susceptibility to the onset and/or persistence of such states.

Using a combination of molecular genetics, viral tracing, electrophysiology, in vitro & in vivo imaging, we are determining how neural activity in LS Crfr2+ circuitry is modulated by stress, and functionally mapping the specific inputs that regulate these changes.