A new study by researchers at the University of California, discovered what could be the solution to treat anxiety. We tell you what this new method that can act on brain anxiety cells.
A new study has investigated the neurological basis of anxiety in the brain. Researchers have found anxiety cells located in the hippocampus and could be controlled by a beam of light, a discovery that could be the solution to anxiety.
The research was carried out with laboratory mice, and could be the solution for people suffering from anxiety disorders.
“We wanted to understand where the emotional information that entails the feeling of anxiety is encoded in the brain.”
Explained neuroscientist Mazen Kheirbek of the University of California at San Francisco, one of the people who has been part of the research.
The team used a technique called calcium imaging, which was done by inserting miniature microscopes into the brains of the mice to record the activity of the cells in the hippocampus as mice moved through the enclosure.
The site consisted of labyrinths that led to open spaces and places that cause anxiety in mice because they are more vulnerable to predators.
Thus, it was discovered that a part of the hippocampus called ventral CA1 (vCA1) contained cells that had a higher activity when the mice became anxious.
“We call these anxiety cells because they only fire when the animals are in places that are terrifying.”
Says Rene Hen, from Columbia University who was one of the leading researchers.
These cells leave the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that regulates the hormones that are responsible for controlling emotions. That is, the research hypothesized that anxiety neurons could be part of human biology.
“Now that we have found these cells in the hippocampus, new areas are opened to explore ideas of treatments that we did not know existed before,” said Jessica Jimenez, of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Vagelos of Columbia University.
Thanks to this study, we have discovered a way to control the anxiety cells of mice. With the optogenic technique in which a beam of light is shone on the cells of the vCA1 region, the researchers have been able to silence the anxiety cells and free them from it.
“What we discovered was that they became less anxious. In reality they tended to want to explore the open arms of the labyrinth even more, “Kheirbek said.
When they changed the configuration of the light, the researchers could improve the activity of the anxiety cells, explained Kheirbek.