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Investigation of the neuronal activity in the different functional columns of periaqueductal gray matter in response to a predatory threat and a predatory context

Grant number: 18/00576-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2018
Effective date (End): January 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Physiology - Physiology of Organs and Systems
Principal Investigator:Newton Sabino Canteras
Grantee:Ricardo Passoni Bindi
Host Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:14/05432-9 - Neural bases of fear and aggression, AP.TEM


Periaqueductal gray matter (PAG) is involved in behavioral responses related to innate and learned fear. These involvements were verified by several methods, among them, indirect markers for neural activity, lesions, inactivations through specific receptor antagonists, activations of different modalities, and through the recording of neuronal activity by chronic implantation for extracellular registration. However, there are few studies of extracellular activity in animals experiencing fear. In one study, the flight and risk assessment behavior were related to an increased electrical activity of the dorsal PAG in the mice. In another, in rats, it was shown an increase in electrical activity in about half of the cells in dorsal and ventral PAG during exposure to predator odor, albeit PAGvl cells activity increase was lower and shorter in duration. In none of these studies were a natural predator used to evoke fear reactions as strong as a cat evokes in a rat. In addition, PAG functional columns have not been systematically described nor their neuronal activities compared between experimental conditions (i.e., safe environment, cat exposure and predatory context). This work aims to relate the neuronal activities of PAG functional columns with the above-mentioned experimental conditions and with the behavioral aspects of the anti-predatory response (eg, freezing and risk assessment). In addition, we will try to verify possible differences in the pattern of cellular activity between the columns along its rostral-caudal axis. Preliminary results of this project indicate the existence of 4 types of behaviors in dorsal PAG cells: cells that increase activity during predator exposure, cells that increase activity during predatory conditions, cells that increase activity in both conditions, and one group of neurons that are indifferent to the experimental condition. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
MENDES-GOMES, JOYCE; MOTTA, SIMONE CRISTINA; BINDI, RICARDO PASSONI; DE OLIVEIRA, AMANDA RIBEIRO; ULLAH, FARHAD; BALDO, MARCUS VINICIUS C.; COIMBRA, NORBERTO CYSNE; CANTERAS, NEWTON SABINO; BLANCHARD, D. CAROLINE. Defensive behaviors and brain regional activation changes in rats confronting a snake. Behavioural Brain Research, v. 381, . (17/11855-8, 14/05432-9, 13/13398-2, 18/00576-3)
Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
BINDI, Ricardo Passoni. How the dorsal PAG encodes fear responses and the anatomical-functional study of the cuneiform nucleus: a fundamental element for fear behaviors.. 2022. Doctoral Thesis - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB/SDI) São Paulo.

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