Stress Accelerates Defensive Responses to Looming in Mice and Involves a Locus Coeruleus-Superior Colliculus Projection

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Author(s)

  • Lei Li
  • Xiaolong Feng
  • Zheng Zhou
  • Huiqi Zhang
  • Qianqian Shi
  • Peilei Shen
  • Qingning Yang
  • Binhao Zhao
  • Shuran Chen
  • Lin Li
  • Yulin Zhang
  • Pengjie Wen
  • Zhonghua Lu
  • Xiang Li
  • Fuqiang Xu
  • Liping Wang

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859-871.e4
Journal / PublicationCurrent Biology
Volume28
Issue number6
Online published1 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

Abstract

Defensive responses to threatening stimuli are crucial to the survival of species. While expression of these responses is considered to be instinctive and unconditional, their magnitude may be affected by environmental and internal factors. The neural circuits underlying this modulation are still largely unknown. In mice, looming-evoked defensive responses are mediated by the superior colliculus (SC), a subcortical sensorimotor integration center. We found that repeated stress caused an anxiety-like state in mice and accelerated defensive responses to looming. Stress also induced c-fos activation in locus coeruleus (LC) tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)+ neurons and modified adrenergic receptor expression in SC, suggesting a possible Th::LC-SC projection that may be involved in the accelerated defensive responses. Indeed, both anterograde and retrograde neural tracing confirmed the anatomical Th::LC-SC projection and that the SC-projecting TH+ neurons in LC were activated by repeated stress. Optogenetic stimulation of either LC TH+ neurons or the Th::LC-SC fibers also caused anxiety-like behaviors and accelerated defensive responses to looming. Meanwhile, chemogenetic inhibition of LC TH+ neurons and the infusion of an adrenergic receptor antagonist in SC abolished the enhanced looming defensive responses after repeated stress, confirming the necessity of this pathway. These findings suggest that the Th::LC-SC pathway plays a key role in the sophisticated adjustments of defensive behaviors induced by changes in physiological states.

Research Area(s)

  • locus coeruleus, superior colliculus, stress, looming, norepinephrine, defensive circuitry, flight, modulation, fear, anxiety

Citation Format(s)

Stress Accelerates Defensive Responses to Looming in Mice and Involves a Locus Coeruleus-Superior Colliculus Projection. / Li, Lei; Feng, Xiaolong ; Zhou, Zheng; Zhang, Huiqi; Shi, Qianqian; Lei, Zhuogui; Shen, Peilei; Yang, Qingning; Zhao, Binhao; Chen, Shuran; Li, Lin; Zhang, Yulin; Wen, Pengjie; Lu, Zhonghua; Li, Xiang; Xu, Fuqiang; Wang, Liping.

In: Current Biology, Vol. 28, No. 6, 19.03.2018, p. 859-871.e4.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review