Editor’s Pick: New behavioral task for assessing safety learning in mice

Reviewing Editor Jonathan (Joff) Lee, Ph.D. selected this paper and explains why they consider it noteworthy.

Felix-Ortiz and colleagues use ethologically-relevant stimuli in a novel and interesting behavioral task to assess avoidance of threat and approach to safety in mice. During this task, mice learn the locations of zones that have different floor temperatures. By varying the proportion of the areas that are comfortably warm and threateningly cold, the task induces avoidance or safety learning.

The authors show critical roles for the prelimbic and infralimbic cortices in the regulation of safety learning. While these findings are largely in line with previous studies using footshock-motivated avoidance behavior, they go further to suggest that an appropriate balance of activity between the two areas is important to promote safety learning.

This work provides an important translational bridge between previous research using ethologically less-relevant footshock stimulation and the overarching aim of understanding and treating PTSD and other stress-related disorders.

Read the full article:

Prefrontal Regulation of Safety Learning during Ethologically Relevant Thermal Threat
Ada C. Felix-Ortiz, Jaelyn M. Terrell, Carolina Gonzalez, Hope D. Msengi, Miranda B. Boggan, Angelica R. Ramos, Gabrielle Magalhães, and Anthony Burgos-Robles

Category: Editor's Pick
Tags: Neuroscience Research, Cognition and Behavior