PerspectiveNeuroscience

Regulation of negative emotional behavior

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Science  29 Nov 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6469, pp. 1071-1072
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz8638

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Summary

Animals and humans must interact with the environment to meet biological needs and avoid dangers. Thus, survival relies on the balance between approach and avoidance behaviors. The median raphe region (MRR), located in the lower brainstem, may play an important role in this balancing process. It is one of two major regions that contain serotoninergic neurons that project to the forebrain. The neurotransmitter serotonin is known for the regulation of anxiety and mood. On page 1094 of this issue, Szőnyi et al. (1) examined a neglected neuron type—glutamatergic neurons in the MRR that express the vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (vGLUT2)—and show that these MRR-vGLUT2 neurons have a vital role in the regulation of negative emotional states. Their findings have considerable implications for understanding psychiatric illnesses, particularly anxiety and mood disorders.

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