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How the brain collects danger signals and turns them into fear

How the brain collects danger signals and turns them into fear

Previous research has shown that different signaling pathways independently transmit danger signals from hearing, sight, and feeling to multiple brain regions. A single signaling pathway that brings all of these signals together would improve survivability, but no one has found such a signaling pathway.

The amygdala is the part of the brain that triggers responses to environmental and emotional stimuli (stimuli) and forms fear memories, and previous research has also shown that the amygdala gets a lot of input from brain regions filled with chemicals associated with aversion, the neuropeptide CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide).

“Based on these two sets of studies, we hypothesized that CGRP neurons, which are located primarily in subregions of the thalamus and brainstem, relay information about risk from the multiple senses to the amygdala,” said co-first author. Shijia Liu, a student in Han’s laboratory. “These circuits can generate appropriate behavioral responses and help form aversive memories of danger signals.”

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