The Parabrachial Nucleus: CGRP Neurons Function as a General Alarm

Trends Neurosci. 2018 May;41(5):280-293. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2018.03.007.


The parabrachial nucleus (PBN), which is located in the pons and is dissected by one of the major cerebellar output tracks, is known to relay sensory information (visceral malaise, taste, temperature, pain, itch) to forebrain structures including the thalamus, hypothalamus, and extended amygdala. The availability of mouse lines expressing Cre recombinase selectively in subsets of PBN neurons and viruses for Cre-dependent gene expression is beginning to reveal the connectivity and functions of PBN component neurons. This review focuses on PBN neurons expressing calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRPPBN) that play a major role in regulating appetite and transmitting real or potential threat signals to the extended amygdala. The functions of other specific PBN neuronal populations are also discussed. This review aims to encourage investigation of the numerous unanswered questions that are becoming accessible.

Keywords: anorexia; calcium imaging; fear and taste conditioning; threats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Parabrachial Nucleus / cytology*
  • Parabrachial Nucleus / physiology*


  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide