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Role of GABAergic mechanisms in the inferior colliculus and periaqueductal gray matter on the sensorimotor gating of fear and anxiety

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Viviane Mitsuko Neves Saito
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: Ribeirão Preto.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (PCARP/BC)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Marcus Lira Brandao; Antonio de Pádua Carobrez; Norberto Cysne Coimbra; Janaína Menezes Zanoveli
Advisor: Marcus Lira Brandao

Unconditioned defense reactions observed in mammals are organized by the Brain Aversive System, comprising, among other structures, the dorsal periaqueductal gray matter (dPAG) and the inferior colliculus (IC). It has been proposed that the IC is part of the sensorimotor circuitry that processes aversive auditory information and the dPAG is considered the main neural substrate for the expression of defensive behaviors. Both structures are tonically regulated by the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This work addresses the chemical mediation of GABA/Benzodiazepine (BZD) on aversive information processing in the IC and the elaboration of fear responses by dPAG. Independent groups of animals implanted with chemitrodes (electrodes attached to a guide cannula for drug injection) have been used to evaluate the IC and dPAG regarding the effects of local injections of GABAergic agents (muscimol, semicarbazide, and midazolam). Auditory evoked potentials (AEP) have been recorded in the IC as a measure of electrophysiological neuronal activation, in addition to determining the thresholds of defensive freezing and flight behaviors, using the electrical stimulation (EE) procedure in both IC and dPAG. The same pharmacological regimen of drug injections intra-dPAG and intra-CI have been applied to animals subjected to the elevated plus maze (EPM), a well-known animal model of anxiety, and also to a novel animal test for innate fear (Light Switch Off Test, LSOT) that has been developed and proposed by our group. We found a clear functional segregation between the dorsal and ventral portions of the IC, the latter being the specific collicular substrate of defensive behaviors. GABAergic mechanisms in both structures influence the amplitude of the AEP and post-stimulation freezing of EE, suggesting a functional link between the two structures. In the LSOT, our data indicate the involvement of GABAergic mechanisms of the ICv, but not the dPAG, in the modulation of the unconditioned response to light in rats. These original findings presented here contribute to broaden the current knowledge on the neurobiology of fear and anxiety, in an integrative approach of the mechanisms underlying sensory processing and the expression of defensive behaviors. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 12/03707-5 - Role of GABAergic mechanisms in the inferior colliculus and periaqueductal gray matter on the sensorimotor gating of fear and anxiety
Grantee:Viviane Mitsuko Neves Saito
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate