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Acetylcholine signaling in the basolateral amygdala: influence on emotional behaviors

November 17, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Marina Picciotto, hosted by Anita Disney

Duke Neurobiology welcomes neuroscientist Marina Picciotto, PhD, Charles B. G. Murphy Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Neuroscience. For connection details to her Zoom seminar, email
Partial abstract: Acetylcholine (ACh) signaling is important for optimal cognitive function. Both muscarinic and nicotinic receptor (nAChR) function is essential for cognition, but our work suggests that nAChR signaling is particularly important for adaptive and maladaptive behavioral responses to stress and for linking previously neutral cues to both rewarding and aversive stimuli. In particular, ACh activity in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) is important for both unconditioned and learned responses to stress and reward. However the microcircuits through which ACh mediates these effects are not fully understood. We have used a novel, cell-type selective method to decrease expression of proteins of interest locally in adult mice and to determine the role of nAChRs on specific cell types in stress-related behaviors.