An Inhibitory Medial Preoptic Circuit Mediates Innate Exploration

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Animals have an innate motivation to explore objects and environments with unknown values. To this end, they need to activate neural pathways that enable exploration. Here, we reveal that photostimulation of a subset of medial preoptic area (MPA) neurons expressing the vesicular-GABA transporter gene (vgat+) and sending axonal projections to the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray (vPAG) increases exploration in a chamber but causes no place preference when tested there without photostimulation. Photoinhibition of MPA(vgat)-vPAG projections leads to no emotional changes as measured by normal activity in an open field assay. Electrophysiological recordings revealed that most GABAergic vPAG neurons are inhibited by MPA(vgat) neurons. In contrast to a previous report that suggested that MPA(vgat)-vPAG neurons may impart positive valence to induce place preference, our results suggest that these neurons can increase innate exploration.</p>
Publisher
FRONTIERS MEDIA SA
Issue Date
2021-08
Language
English
Article Type
Article
Citation

FRONTIERS IN NEUROSCIENCE, v.15

ISSN
1662-4548
DOI
10.3389/fnins.2021.716147
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/288013
Appears in Collection
BS-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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