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Topographic representation of current and future threats in the mouse nociceptive amygdala

Nature Communications_0

Authors: Anna J. Bowen, Y. Waterlily Huang, Jane Y. Chen, Jordan L. Pauli, Carlos A. Campos & Richard D. Palmiter
Publication: Nature Communications
Date: January 12, 2023
Link to article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-023-35826-4


Adaptive behaviors arise from an integration of current sensory context and internal representations of past experiences. The central amygdala (CeA) is positioned as a key integrator of cognitive and affective signals, yet it remains unknown whether individual populations simultaneously carry current- and future-state representations. We find that a primary nociceptive population within the CeA of mice, defined by CGRP-receptor (Calcrl) expression, receives topographic sensory information, with spatially defined representations of internal and external stimuli. While Calcrl+ neurons in both the rostral and caudal CeA respond to noxious stimuli, rostral neurons promote locomotor responses to externally sourced threats, while caudal CeA Calcrl+ neurons are activated by internal threats and promote passive coping behaviors and associative valence coding. During associative fear learning, rostral CeA Calcrl+ neurons stably encode noxious stimulus occurrence, while caudal CeA Calcrl+ neurons acquire predictive responses. This arrangement supports valence-aligned representations of current and future threats for the generation of adaptive behaviors.

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