A team of scientists at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has invented a new circuit in the mouse brain which can control the emotions in a brain like fear, anger and anxiety. It has been discovered from the circuit that these feelings are found within a definite region inside the brain. The main purpose of this project is to unearth the cause behind anxiety disorder inside a brain. Associate Professor Bo Li said that fear anxiety and memory are located around the central amygdale controlled by the neurons.
Research has found that a cluster of neurons is responsible for controlling the stress and anxiety. These neurons form the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus or PVT. Scientists carried on experiments to see that neurons from the PVT extend deep into the central amygdale. When this connection us interrupted for any external reasons, impaired fear takes place. The scientists further researched on the data extracted from people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to identify chemical messengers that might connect the two structures. A molecule called BDNF is found to be associated with anxiety disorders. Patients with anxiety disorders are found to have mutations in BDNF.
The results obtained from the study has provided mechanistic insight into a circuit which is able to control fear in the brain, and provides a target for the future treatment of anxiety disorders, said Li.