Information seeking, such as standing on tiptoes to look around in humans, is observed across animals and helps survival. Its rodent analog—unsupported rearing on hind legs—was a classic model in deciphering neural signals of cognition and is of intense renewed interest in preclinical modeling of neuropsychiatric states. Neural signals and circuits controlling this dedicated decision to seek information remain largely unknown. While studying subsecond timing of spontaneous behavioral acts and activity of melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) neurons (MNs) in behaving male and female mice, we observed large MN activity spikes that aligned to unsupported rears. Complementary causal, loss and gain of function, analyses revealed specific control of rear frequency and duration by MNs and MCHR1 receptors. Activity in a key stress center of the brain—the locus ceruleus noradrenaline cells—rapidly inhibited MNs and required functional MCH receptors for its endogenous modulation of rearing. By defining a neural module that both tracks and controls rearing, these findings may facilitate further insights into biology of information seeking.

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This post is Copyright: Concetti, C., Viskaitis, P., Grujic, N., Duss, S. N., Privitera, M., Bohacek, J., Peleg-Raibstein, D., Burdakov, D. | May 23, 2024
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