Advances in neural circuits of innate fear defense behavior

Zhejiang Da Xue Xue Bao Yi Xue Ban. 2023 Aug 1;52(5):653-661. doi: 10.3724/zdxbyxb-2023-0131.
[Article in English, Chinese]

Abstract

Fear, a negative emotion triggered by dangerous stimuli, can lead to psychiatric disorders such as phobias, anxiety disorders, and depression. Investigating the neural circuitry underlying congenital fear can offer insights into the pathophysiological mechanisms of related psychiatric conditions. Research on innate fear primarily centers on the response mechanisms to various sensory signals, including olfactory, visual and auditory stimuli. Different types of fear signal inputs are regulated by distinct neural circuits. The neural circuits of the main and accessory olfactory systems receive and process olfactory stimuli, mediating defensive responses like freezing. Escape behaviors elicited by visual stimuli are primarily regulated through the superior colliculus and hypothalamic projection circuits. Auditory stimuli-induced responses, including escape, are mainly mediated through auditory cortex projection circuits. In this article, we review the research progress on neural circuits of innate fear defensive behaviors in animals. We further discuss the different sensory systems, especially the projection circuits of olfactory, visual and auditory systems, to provide references for the mechanistic study of related mental disorders.

恐惧是危险刺激诱发的一种负性情绪,过度恐惧会诱发精神障碍类疾病。对先天性恐惧的神经环路进行解析有助于理解相关精神疾病的病理生理机制。目前,关于先天性恐惧的研究主要基于嗅觉、视觉、听觉等不同感官信号刺激的应答反应机制,而不同类型恐惧信号输入由不同的神经环路调控。主嗅系统和副嗅系统神经回路接收并处理嗅觉刺激信息从而介导冻结等防御反应,视觉刺激信号诱发的逃跑行为主要通过上丘和下丘脑投射回路调控,而听觉刺激信息引发的逃跑等反应主要由听觉皮层投射回路介导。本文综述了视觉、听觉、嗅觉等系统危险刺激投射的神经回路变化,以期为相关精神疾病的诊治提供靶点信息。.

Keywords: Ego defense; Fear, innate; Neural circuits; Review; Sensation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fear* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net*