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Neuronal circuits mediating the instrumental and non-instrumental avoidance

Grant number: 16/08640-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2016
Effective date (End): December 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Physiology - General Physiology
Principal researcher:Newton Sabino Canteras
Grantee:Juliette Marguerite Alix Viellard
Home Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:14/05432-9 - Neural bases of fear and aggression, AP.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):17/05082-6 - Neuronal circuits mediating the behavioral switch between active avoidance and freezing., BE.EP.DR


It is well known that the spatial location of an individual towards a potential threat determines the nature of the fear response. Depending on the proximity of the threat, an individual may display a freezing, avoidance or a fight response. One form of avoidance that has been recently investigated is the signaled active avoidance (AA). In parallel, our group has investigated a non-instrumental avoidance, where the individual learn to avoid a threatenassociated environment using contextual cues. The neural circuits implicated are now being well investigated, and at this point it remains to be understood how the BA would operate to work as a switching key to turn on and off the active avoidance. Another good candidate to mediate avoidance response is the dorsal and lateral parts of the periaqueductal gray that evokes escape responses. This study will investigate the pattern of Fos expression in mice performing signaled active avoidance, and non-instrumental contextual avoidance, and try to outline the brain systems likely to be involved in this response. Next, we will carry on a functional study using optogenectic tools to investigate how the selected brain sites revealed in the Fos analysis influence active avoidance responses in both protocols.