Influences of photic stress on postsubicular head-directional processing

Abstract : The stress response serves vital adaptive functions. However, acute stress episodes often negatively impact cognitive processing. Here, we aimed to elucidate whether stress detrimentally affects the head-direction cells of the postsubiculum, which may in turn impair downstream spatial information processing. We recorded neurons in the rats' postsubiculum during a pellet-chasing task during baseline non-stress conditions and after a 30-min acute photic stress exposure. Based on their baseline firing rate, we identified a subpopulation of head-direction cells that drastically decreased its firing rate as a response to stress while preserving their head directionality. The remaining population of head-direction cells as well as other neurons recorded in the postsubiculum were unaffected. The observed altered activity in the subpopulation might be the basis for spatial processing deficits observed following acute stress episodes.
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Johannes Passecker, Md. Nurul Islam, Vincent Hok, Shane M. O'Mara. Influences of photic stress on postsubicular head-directional processing. European Journal of Neuroscience, Wiley, In press, ⟨10.1111/ejn.13887⟩. ⟨hal-01745913⟩

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