Regulation of Cued Fear Expression via Corticotropin-Releasing-Factor Neurons in the Ventral Anteromedial Thalamic Nucleus

Yin Lv 1• Peng Chen 1• Qing-Hong Shan 1• Xin-Ya Qin 1• Xiu-Hong Qi 1•Jiang-Ning Zhou 1,2

1 Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at the Microscale, School of Life Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory of Brain Function and Diseases,
University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230027, China
2 Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China


The ventral part of the anteromedial thalamic nucleus (AMv) is in a position to convey information to the cortico-hippocampal-amygdalar circuit involved in the processing of fear memory. Corticotropin-releasing-factor (CRF) neurons are closely associated with the regulation of stress and fear. However, few studies have focused on the role of thalamic CRF neurons in fear memory. In the present study, using a conditioned fear paradigm in CRF transgenic mice, we found that the c-Fos protein in the AMv CRF neurons was significantly increased after cued fear expression. Chemogenetic activation of AMv CRF neurons enhanced cued fear expression, whereas inhibition had the opposite effect on the cued fear response. Moreover, chemogenetic manipulation of AMv CRF neurons did not affect fear acquisition or contextual fear expression. In addition, anterograde tracing of projections revealed that AMv CRF neurons project to wide areas of the cerebral cortex and the limbic system. These results uncover a critical role of AMv CRF neurons in the regulation of conditioned fear memory.



Corticotropin-releasing-factor neurons;  Ventral anteromedial thalamic nucleus;  Cued fear expression; Chemogenetics


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