Apr 5, 2023

Danger or pleasure? How we learn to tell the difference

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, neuroscience

Deep within our brain’s temporal lobes, two almond-shaped cell masses help keep us alive. This tiny region, called the amygdala, assists with a variety of brain activities. It helps us learn and remember. It triggers our fight-or-flight response. It even promotes the release of a feel-good chemical called dopamine.

Scientists have learned all this by studying the amygdala over hundreds of years. But we still haven’t reached a full understanding of how these processes work.

Now, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory neuroscientist Bo Li has brought us several important steps closer. His lab recently made a series of discoveries that show how called somatostatin-expressing (Sst+) central amygdala (CeA) neurons help us learn about threats and rewards. He also demonstrated how these neurons relate to dopamine. The discoveries could lead to future treatments for anxiety or .

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