Systems Neuroscience Seminar

This seminar will meet Tuesdays at 2 PM in the VIPBG conference room 2008-2009 academic year.
Organisers: Mark Reimers and Michael Neale

The aim of this seminar series is to explore the relation between physiology and function at critical points (‘decisions’) in natural behavior. In the first part we will explore the relationship among attention, reward and arousal in terms of activity in specific brain regions and in terms of specific neurotransmitters and neuromodulators. In the second part we will study the connections and currently suggested roles of the basal ganglia, amygdala, hippocampus, and the orbito-frontal and cingulate cortices in organizing activity and responding to new inputs through emotion.

Part I - Fall 2008

  1. Introduction & Orientation: Slides
    References: Kandel & Schwarz (4th ed.), chapters 4, 17. (To view Kandel & Schwarz on reserve, log into the library, go to 'Advanced Search' and search the reserves under HGEN 691-007 or the name "Reimers".)

  2. Core neurotransmitters: Glutamate and GABA: metabolism, receptor types, and behavioral roles. (2 weeks)
    Week 1 readings: Kandel & Schwarz (4th ed.), chapters 10, 12; Wikipedia entries: metabotropic Glutamate receptors, GPCR's, GABAB receptors
    Questions for discussion
    Week 2 readings: Kandel & Schwarz (4th ed.), chapter 13

  3. Overview of Neuromodulators; Acetylcholine
    References: Kandel & Schwarz (4th ed.), 15 (p280-287), chapter 45 ( first 9 pages); Giocomo & Hasselmo (hard)
    Questions for discussion:

  4. Neuromodulators: Norepinephrine
    Readings: Bouret and Sara; Aston-Jones and Cohen, pp.404-414; Ramos and Arnsten, sec. 1,2,3
    Questions for discussion

  5. Neuromodulators: Serotonin
    References: Wikipedia - Serotonin receptors Nichols & Nichols sections 1, 1.1.1, 4 Amitzia sections I - IV

  6. Neuromodulators: Dopamine
    Some Fun Facts about dopamine. See also Wikipedia's articles on dopamine and dopamine receptors.
    Panksepp - Dopamine & behavior. Section 1 for Oct 14; sections 2 - 4 for Oct 21.
    Goto - Yin & Yang of dopamine release , sections 1 - 2 for Oct 14; remainder for Oct 21.
    Schultz argues for a cognitive interpretation (Oct 21).
    Redgrave responds (Oct 21).
    Vernier - Dopamine evolution. Sections 1,2,3,5 for Oct 21 (secondary)

  7. Other neuromodulators: NPY, substance P, oxytocin, opioids, cannabinoids
    Quick Facts and References:
    Lim & Young describe how oxytocin and vasopressin regulate social behaviors (see this corrected figure ).
    Janecka, sections 1, 2.1, and 2.2 summarizes knowledge about opioid receptors.
    See also the Wikipedia articles on opioid receptors and oxytocin

  8. The HPA axis and stress
    Quick Facts and References:
    EndoText (the first two-thirds) on adrenal axis.
    de Kloet's review, pp 1 - 8.

  9. Genetic variations in neurotransmitter circuits: Endophenotypes
    References: Kandel & Schwarz (4th ed), chapter 61
    1. Nov 11: Logothetis discusses the meaning of fMRI data.
    2. Nov 18: no meeting
    3. Nov 25: Logothetis' paper examining the connection between fMRI and electrical measures of neural activity.
    4. Dec 2: Introduction to analysis of endophenotypes: COMT, cognitive function and Schizophrenia
      Meyer-Lindenberg and Weinberger review the field.
      Meyer-Lindenberg et al. Midbrain dopamine and prefrontal function in humans: interaction and modulation by COMT genotype
    5. Dec 9: COMT and Schizophrenia; validity of the endophenotype concept
      Cannon & Keller argue for endophenotypes.
      Flint et al argue against the assumptions about endophenotypes.
      Tan & Weinberger argue more directly for endophenotypes.
      Barnett et al find no replicable endophenotypes in a meta-analysis of COMT. Weinberger replies; Barnett replies
    6. Dec 16: COMT and HTTR polymorphisms and endophenotypes associated with depression; MAOA and endophenotypes associated with aggression
    7. Meyer-Lindenberg et al relate MAOA variation to impulsivity.
      Pezawas et al relate HTTLPR variation to reactivity.
      Munafo et al review available evidence and suggest a smaller effect is real.
    8. Dec 19 (Friday, 11:45): Daniel Weinberger speaks at Grand Rounds (Sanger 1-044)

We will meet every two weeks for this term

Part 2 - Winter/Spring 2009: Studies of role of specific brain regions in decision making

  1. Feb 3: Introduction: Decision Making and Emotion
    Last fall we discussed 'endophenotypes'.
    This paper by Jaak Panksepp considers emotional activity itself as an endophenotype in the context of an evolutionary perspective on psychiatric disorders. Panksepp tries to define a set of emotions conserved through evolution. His list ovelaps somewhat with the list of 'discrete emotions' studied by Ekman et al.
    Dalgleish gives a brief introduction to studies that try to map distinct emotions to distinct brain regions.
    Methodology: if you didn't participate in the fall seminar, please look at this paper , which discusses the meaning of fMRI data.

  2. Feb 17: Amygdala and Social Emotion - Part 1
    Reading: The amygdala, reward and emotion
    and some comments.

  3. March 3: Amygdala and Social Emotion - Part 2
    Primary Reading: Adolphs - Fear, faces and the human amygdala
    This article tries to deconstruct the common view that the amygdala mediates fear. Adolphs was one of those showing that the amygdala was necessary for the attention to eyes that was itself necessary for recognizing and responding to fearful facial expressions. Probably the best part of this article is the last section: "What does the amygdala do?" pp169-170.
    Whalen - Amygdala and ambiguity. Whalen describes a study inducing amygdala activity through very mild but unpredictable stimuli, which seems to induce anxious behavior in animals and human beings.
    Some other references:
    Amygdala (Scholarpedia)
    Amygdala (Wikipedia)
    Amygdala and vigilance (Whalen Lab)

  4. March 17: Amygdala, Hippocampus and Emotional Memory - Part 1
    Primary Reading: Phelps - Amygdala and emotional memory
    This paper tries to show how the two systems interact during memory formation. Specifically, the amygdala can modulate both the encoding and the storage of hippocampal-dependent memories, while the hippocampal complex can influence the amygdala response when emotional stimuli are encountered. Secondary Readings: Maren - Amygdala & hippocampus
    This paper addresses the relation between amygdala and hippocampus during fear conditioning.

  5. March 31: Amygdala, Hippocampus and Emotional Memory - Part 2
    Primary Reading: LaBar - Emotional memory neuroscience
    This 2006 paper summarizes current thinking on emotional memory.
    Secondary Reading: Richter-Levin - Amygdala-Hippocampus interaction
    This 2000 paper proposes some detailed mechanisms for interaction between amygdala and hippocampus.

  6. April 14: Basal Ganglia, Emotion and Decision - Part 1

  7. April 28: Basal Ganglia, Emotion and Decision - Part 2

Further Topics

  1. Anterior Cingulate Cortex
  2. Orbitofrontal Cortex