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Establishing the dual role of serotonergic neurons of the dorsal raphe in flexible behaviors


One the most relevant neuromodulator which affect the organisms’ ability to adapt to environmental changes and to aversive events is serotonin or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT). 5-HT has long and widely been implicated in the pathophysiology of several psychiatric diseases such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, drug addiction and depression. Emerging evidence indicate that 5-HT also plays a crucial role in cognitive and behavioral flexibility. Serotonin neurons respond to aversive stimuli and promote shifting behavior away from aversive events or frustrative non-reward but also respond to reward and prevent shifting behavior in the face of effort or delay. How 5-HT neurons from the dorsal raphe (DRN5-HT) both promote and prevent shifting behavior is, however, still unclear. Addressing this question requires a better understanding of the role of the 5-HT systems in controlling flexible behavior. Using calcium imaging, optogenetic manipulation, high density fiber photometry and closed-loop brain manipulation, in a comprehensive procedure assessing behavioral flexibility, FLEX5 aims to define the behavioral events that activate DRN5-HT neurons and define the role of 5-HT in its network.

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Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-RI - RI – Reintegration panel


Via Morego 30
16163 Genova
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 171 473,28