Subcortical Network Regulation

Science Signaling  20 Oct 2009:
Vol. 2, Issue 93, pp. ec342
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.293ec342

Subcortical neuromodulatory centers dominate the motivational and emotional state–dependent control of cortical functions. Control of cortical circuits has been thought to involve a slow, diffuse neuromodulation that affects the excitability of large numbers of neurons relatively indiscriminately. Varga et al. describe a form of subcortical control of cortical information processing whereby strong, spatiotemporally precise excitatory input from midbrain serotonergic neurons produces a robust activation of hippocampal interneurons. This effect is mediated by a synaptic release of both serotonin and glutamate and impacts network activity patterns.

V. Varga, A. Losonczy, B. V. Zemelman, Z. Borhegyi, G. Nyiri, A. Domonkos, B. Hangya, N. Holderith, J. C. Magee, T. F. Freund, Fast synaptic subcortical control of hippocampal circuits. Science 326, 449–453 (2009). [Abstract] [Full Text]