Intense threat switches dorsal raphe serotonin neurons to a paradoxical operational mode

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Science  01 Feb 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6426, pp. 538-542
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau8722

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Flipping behavior under threat

Could it be that the brain in a state of emergency or under intense threat operates in a fundamentally different way? Seo et al. found that mice paused when serotonin neurons were transiently stimulated in low- or medium-threat environments, but when this same neural population was stimulated in high-threat environments, mice tried to escape. Recordings from these neurons indicated that movement-related neural tuning flipped between environments. Neural activity decreased when movement was initiated in low-threat environments but increased in high-threat environments.

Science, this issue p. 538