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VIP-expressing interneurons in the anterior insular cortex contribute to sensory processing to regulate adaptive behavior

Cell Reports

Authors: Arnau Ramos-Prats, Enrica Paradiso, Federico Castaldi, Maryam Sadeghi, Mohd Yaqub Mir, Heide Hörtnagl, Georg Göbel, Francesco Ferraguti
Publication: Cell Reports
Date: May 31, 2022
Link to article: https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(22)00668-4


Adaptive behavior critically depends on the detection of behaviorally relevant stimuli. The anterior insular cortex (aIC) has long been proposed as a key player in the representation and integration of sensory stimuli, and implicated in a wide variety of cognitive and emotional functions. However, to date, little is known about the contribution of aIC interneurons to sensory processing. By using a combination of whole-brain connectivity tracing, imaging of neural calcium dynamics, and optogenetic modulation in freely moving mice across different experimental paradigms, such as fear conditioning and social preference, we describe here a role for aIC vasoactive intestinal polypeptide-expressing (VIP+) interneurons in mediating adaptive behaviors. Our findings enlighten the contribution of aIC VIP+ interneurons to sensory processing, showing that they are anatomically connected to a wide range of sensory-related brain areas and critically respond to behaviorally relevant stimuli independent of task and modality.

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