Poster and symposia highlights - the central amygdala and reward, a REM sleep switch and spiders with speedy clocks

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With so many symposia and poster sessions covering such a wide variety of topics, navigating everything on offer at SfN can be overwhelming, and it’s often hard to distill the onslaught of information down to key takeaways. Still, I’ll do my best - check out these highlights from some of my favorite Themes F and G posters and symposia over the last few days!


  • Three species of spiders have unusually fast circadian clocks (17-19 hours compared to approximately 24 hours in many other species), raising interesting questions about how they’ve adapted to a temporal environment so drastically out of time with their own internal rhythms.

    237.01 / HH32 - Life in the fast lane: Exceptionally short-period circadian clocks in orb-weaving spiders. D. Moore, N. A. Ayoub, A. Mah, N. Toporikova T. C. Jones


  • Galaninergic inhibitory neurons in the dorsomedial hypothalamus may act as a “switch” for transitions between rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. DMH neurons projecting to the preoptic area suppress REM sleep, while neurons projecting to brainstem nuclei promote REM sleep

    193.01 - Hypothalamic switch of REM sleep. K.-S. Chen, M. Xu, Y. Dan.


  • Researchers showed human subjects images of either faces or houses, and then let them sleep while recording high-density EEG. Using a machine learning algorithm called multivariate pattern classification, they were then able to predict which images the subjects had viewed based on EEG activity alone.

    193.09 - Decoding material-specific memory reprocessing during sleep in humans. M. Schonauer, S. Alizadeh, H. Jamalabadi, A. Abraham, A. Pawlizki, S. Gais.


  • Optogenetically stimulating the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) drives attraction towards rewarding and aversive stimuli. When CeA stimulation was paired with a rewarding stimulus such as cocaine, rats preferred that reward over another unpaired reward. Amazingly, when CeA stimulation was paired with an aversive stimulus such as a low intensity shock, they still preferred the paired stimulus, which they would typically avoid.

    244.12 / NN16 - Dangerous desire: Optogenetic central amygdala stimulation amplifies attraction towards rewarding and aversive stimuli. S. M. Warlow, E. E. Naffziger, K. C. Berridge.


  • Many recent studies have suggested a link between desynchronization of the circadian system and symptoms of mood disorders. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh optogenetically stimulated the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of mice (the master circadian clock in the brain) at different times of day to alter the phase of their circadian rhythms. They described how this paradigm can be used to explore how SCN-mediated shifts of behavioral rhythms contribute to regulating mood.

    237.08 / II3 - Using optogenetics to determine the role of the suprachiasmatic nucleus in mood-like behaviors. C. A. Vadnie, C. N. Heisler, R. W. Logan, L. A. Eberhardt, D. Becker-Krail, M. A. Hildebrand, C. A. McClung


  • Researchers combined simultaneous EEG and “fast fMRI” recordings in humans to characterize oscillatory activity in thalamocortical circuits during sleep onset with high temporal resolution

    193.02 - Tracking fluctuating thalamocortical dynamics during the transition into sleep through high temporal resolution neuroimaging. *L. D. Lewis, J. R. Polimeni, K. Setsompop, R. Stickgold, G. Bonmassar B. R. Rosen


  • Sleep patterns in mice can predict whether they will be resilient or susceptible to chronic social defeat stress. Mice that were sleep deprived while undergoing a five-day social defeat paradigm, in which they’re exposed to an aggressive male, were more likely to be resilient to the stressor. The work suggests an important relationship between sleep and stress response.

    241.22 / LL14 - A causal role for sleep in resilience to chronic social defeat stress. C. L. Gray, B. Bush, J. Sanchez, K. N. Paul, J. C. Ehlen.


  • Mice exposed to a high-fat diet for 3 days consume fewer calories of chow on the subsequent day, suggesting they start to devalue the food. The researchers hope to use this finding as a model to explore how the dopamine system regulates cravings and overconsumption of palatable foods.

    244.20 / NN24 - Overconsumption of high-fat diet leads to chow devaluation. W. Fobbs, A. Kravitz.


Keep an eye out for some final posts on gut microbiota and child undernutrition, calcium imaging during deep brain stimulation, and some overall thoughts and reflections as this year’s meeting comes to a close!

Raymond Sanchez
Annual Meeting Blogger
Twitter: @mangoraysan


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