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Study of incerto-hypothalamic area participation in innate responses during direct confrontation with predator

Grant number: 07/00372-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2007
Effective date (End): December 31, 2007
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Morphology - Anatomy
Principal researcher:Luciane Valéria Sita
Grantee:Luiz Felipe Zina Gonçalves
Home Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Motivated behaviors are fundamental to the individual's survival or to the species and, therefore, accompanied of high degree of motivation. The defensive behavior is one of the types of motivated behavior and it can be evaluated experimentally through the exposure of the animal to its natural predator. Previous works using this paradigm associated to the analysis of the expression of the Fos protein or to cytotoxic lesions showed that some hypothalamic regions are essential for the organization of the defensive behavior. In that sense, we observed that the medial zona incerta (ZIM) presents a projection pattern similar to other nuclei of the defensive hypothalamic circuit and it is associated to the targets of this circuit in the brainstem. This project will evaluate the role of the ZIM in the defensive responses during the direct exposure to the predator through the analysis of the behavioral responses of rats submitted to cytotoxic lesions in the ZIM and exposed to the natural predator (cat).

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