The dorsal raphe (DR) constitutes a major serotonergic input to the forebrain and modulates diverse functions and brain states, including mood, anxiety, and sensory and motor functions. Most functional studies to date have treated DR serotonin neurons as a single population. Using viral-genetic methods, we found that subcortical- and cortical-projecting serotonin neurons have distinct cell-body distributions within the DR and differentially co-express a vesicular glutamate transporter. Further, amygdala- and frontal-cortex-projecting DR serotonin neurons have largely complementary whole-brain collateralization patterns, receive biased inputs from presynaptic partners, and exhibit opposite responses to aversive stimuli. Gain- and loss-of-function experiments suggest that amygdala-projecting DR serotonin neurons promote anxiety-like behavior, whereas frontal-cortex-projecting neurons promote active coping in the face of challenge. These results provide compelling evidence that the DR serotonin system contains parallel sub-systems that differ in input and output connectivity, physiological response properties, and behavioral functions.
Keywords: 5-HT; Tph2; Vglut3; anxiety; central amygdala; depression; dorsal raphe; fiber photometry; iDISCO; orbital frontal cortex; serotonin.
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