Chinese researchers find key neuron of stress coping strategies

BEIJING, March 11 (Xinhua) -- To "fight or flight" in stressful conditions, is a well-known scientific question. Chinese researchers have found the key neuron as the biological basis of brain stress coping strategies.

Chinese scientists found that prefrontal corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) neurons are recruited during behavioral challenges, and manipulation of CRF neurons motivates the selection of behavioral styles under challenges.

The research team, led by Prof. Zhou Jiangning from the University of Science and Technology of China, contributed eight years in the study.

They have demonstrated that activation of CRF neurons promotes persistent stress-resistant behaviors.

Moreover, they found that increasing CRF neuronal activity promoted durable resilience to repeated social defeat stress.

These results uncover a critical role of mPFC (medial prefrontal cortex) CRF interneurons in bidirectionally controlling motivated behavioral style selection under stress.

The study may point to novel therapeutic targets such as neural circuit modulation for the treatment of major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

It was recently published online in the journal Neuron.

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