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5 publication(s) depuis Janvier 2014:

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21/07/2016 | Nature   IF 40.1
Prefrontal neuronal assemblies temporally control fear behaviour.
Dejean C, Courtin J, Karalis N, Chaudun F, Wurtz H, Bienvenu TC, Herry C

Precise spike timing through the coordination and synchronization of neuronal assemblies is an efficient and flexible coding mechanism for sensory and cognitive processing. In cortical and subcortical areas, the formation of cell assemblies critically depends on neuronal oscillations, which can precisely control the timing of spiking activity. Whereas this form of coding has been described for sensory processing and spatial learning, its role in encoding emotional behaviour remains unknown. Fear behaviour relies on the activation of distributed structures, among which the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) is known to be critical for fear memory expression. In the dmPFC, the phasic activation of neurons to threat-predicting cues, a spike-rate coding mechanism, correlates with conditioned fear responses and supports the discrimination between aversive and neutral stimuli. However, this mechanism does not account for freezing observed outside stimuli presentations, and the contribution of a general spike-time coding mechanism for freezing in the dmPFC remains to be established. Here we use a combination of single-unit and local field potential recordings along with optogenetic manipulations to show that, in the dmPFC, expression of conditioned fear is causally related to the organization of neurons into functional assemblies. During fear behaviour, the development of 4 Hz oscillations coincides with the activation of assemblies nested in the ascending phase of the oscillation. The selective optogenetic inhibition of dmPFC neurons during the ascending or descending phases of this oscillation blocks and promotes conditioned fear responses, respectively. These results identify a novel phase-specific coding mechanism, which dynamically regulates the development of dmPFC assemblies to control the precise timing of fear responses.

09/06/2016 | Nature   IF 40.1
Midbrain circuits for defensive behaviour.
Tovote P, Esposito MS, Botta P, Chaudun F, Fadok JP, Markovic M, Wolff SB, Ramakrishnan C, Fenno L, Deisseroth K, Herry C, Arber S, Luthi A

Survival in threatening situations depends on the selection and rapid execution of an appropriate active or passive defensive response, yet the underlying brain circuitry is not understood. Here we use circuit-based optogenetic, in vivo and in vitro electrophysiological, and neuroanatomical tracing methods to define midbrain periaqueductal grey circuits for specific defensive behaviours. We identify an inhibitory pathway from the central nucleus of the amygdala to the ventrolateral periaqueductal grey that produces freezing by disinhibition of ventrolateral periaqueductal grey excitatory outputs to pre-motor targets in the magnocellular nucleus of the medulla. In addition, we provide evidence for anatomical and functional interaction of this freezing pathway with long-range and local circuits mediating flight. Our data define the neuronal circuitry underlying the execution of freezing, an evolutionarily conserved defensive behaviour, which is expressed by many species including fish, rodents and primates. In humans, dysregulation of this 'survival circuit' has been implicated in anxiety-related disorders.

15/02/2016 | Nat Neurosci   IF 17.8
4-Hz oscillations synchronize prefrontal-amygdala circuits during fear behavior.
Karalis N, Dejean C, Chaudun F, Khoder S, Rozeske RR, Wurtz H, Bagur S, Benchenane K, Sirota A, Courtin J, Herry C

Fear expression relies on the coordinated activity of prefrontal and amygdala circuits, yet the mechanisms allowing long-range network synchronization during fear remain unknown. Using a combination of extracellular recordings, pharmacological and optogenetic manipulations, we found that freezing, a behavioral expression of fear, temporally coincided with the development of sustained, internally generated 4-Hz oscillations in prefrontal-amygdala circuits. 4-Hz oscillations predict freezing onset and offset and synchronize prefrontal-amygdala circuits. Optogenetic induction of prefrontal 4-Hz oscillations coordinates prefrontal-amygdala activity and elicits fear behavior. These results unravel a sustained oscillatory mechanism mediating prefrontal-amygdala coupling during fear behavior.

07/10/2014 | Genes Brain Behav   IF 3.7
Prefrontal neuronal circuits of contextual fear conditioning.
Rozeske RR, Valerio S, Chaudun F, Herry C

Over the past years, numerous studies have provided a clear understanding of the neuronal circuits and mechanisms involved in the formation, expression and extinction phases of conditioned cued fear memories. Yet, despite a strong clinical interest, a detailed understanding of these memory phases for contextual fear memories is still missing. Besides the well-known role of the hippocampus in encoding contextual fear behavior, growing evidence indicates that specific regions of the medial prefrontal cortex differentially regulate contextual fear acquisition and storage in both animals and humans that ultimately leads to expression of contextual fear memories. In this review, we provide a detailed description of the recent literature on the role of distinct prefrontal subregions in contextual fear behavior and provide a working model of the neuronal circuits involved in the acquisition, expression and generalization of contextual fear memories.

02/01/2014 | Nature   IF 40.1
Prefrontal parvalbumin interneurons shape neuronal activity to drive fear expression.
Courtin J, Chaudun F, Rozeske RR, Karalis N, Gonzalez-Campo C, Wurtz H, Abdi A, Baufreton J, Bienvenu TC, Herry C

Synchronization of spiking activity in neuronal networks is a fundamental process that enables the precise transmission of information to drive behavioural responses. In cortical areas, synchronization of principal-neuron spiking activity is an effective mechanism for information coding that is regulated by GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)-ergic interneurons through the generation of neuronal oscillations. Although neuronal synchrony has been demonstrated to be crucial for sensory, motor and cognitive processing, it has not been investigated at the level of defined circuits involved in the control of emotional behaviour. Converging evidence indicates that fear behaviour is regulated by the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC). This control over fear behaviour relies on the activation of specific prefrontal projections to the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA), a structure that encodes associative fear memories. However, it remains to be established how the precise temporal control of fear behaviour is achieved at the level of prefrontal circuits. Here we use single-unit recordings and optogenetic manipulations in behaving mice to show that fear expression is causally related to the phasic inhibition of prefrontal parvalbumin interneurons (PVINs). Inhibition of PVIN activity disinhibits prefrontal projection neurons and synchronizes their firing by resetting local theta oscillations, leading to fear expression. Our results identify two complementary neuronal mechanisms mediated by PVINs that precisely coordinate and enhance the neuronal activity of prefrontal projection neurons to drive fear expression.