Apr 13, 2020

Noradrenergic circuits in the forebrain control affective responses to novelty

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Daniel LustbergDavid Weinshenker


Rationale: In rodents, exposure to novel environments elicits initial anxiety-like behavior (neophobia) followed by intense exploration (neophilia) that gradually subsides as the environment becomes familiar. Thus, innate novelty-induced behaviors are useful indices of anxiety and motivation in animal models of psychiatric disease. Noradrenergic neurons are activated by novelty and implicated in exploratory and anxiety-like responses, but the role of norepinephrine (NE) in neophobia has not been clearly delineated. Objective: We sought to define the role of central NE transmission in neophilic and neophobic behaviors. Methods: We assessed dopamine {beta}-hydroxylase knockout (Dbh -/-) mice lacking NE and their NE-competent (Dbh +/-) littermate controls in neophilic (novelty-induced locomotion; NIL) and neophobic (novelty-suppressed feeding; NSF) behavioral tests with subsequent quantification of brain-wide c-fos induction. We complimented the gene knockout approach with pharmacological interventions. Results: Dbh -/- mice exhibited blunted locomotor responses in the NIL task and completely lacked neophobia in the NSF test. Neophobia was rescued in Dbh -/- mice by acute pharmacological restoration of central NE with the syntheti...Continue Reading

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