Research Topic

Cortical-subcortical interactions in psychiatric disease

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The widespread prevalence of psychiatric disorders has focused research in neuroscience on brain regions that are compromised in diseases such as depression, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia. Of particular interest are those circuits that mediate ...

The widespread prevalence of psychiatric disorders has focused research in neuroscience on brain regions that are compromised in diseases such as depression, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia. Of particular interest are those circuits that mediate emotional, motivational, and cognitive processes. This effort has produced key insights into the neural substrates subserving these functions, and has implicated several cortical and subcortical loci in these processes, including the prefrontal cortex, the orbitofrontal cortex, the amygdala, the nucleus accumbens, and neuromodulators such as dopamine and serotonin. Specific examples include the amygdala and its role in fear conditioning and anxiety disorders, the medial prefrontal cortex and its role in depression and the extinction of both fear conditioning and cocaine self-administration, and the nucleus accumbens as a central locus for the action of drugs of abuse. Data from human and animal studies indicate that cortical and subcortical regions form networks that modulate phenotypes associated with numerous psychiatric disorders. However, to date, the function of cortical-subcortical interactions in psychiatric disease remains incompletely understood. This research topic will provide an overview of the most recent findings on this topic.

Here, we will cover a broad range of experimental approaches to shed light on the role of cortical-subcortical interactions in psychiatric disease. Recent technical advances in diffusion tensor imaging and functional magnetic resonance imaging now allow measurements, respectively, of both anatomical and functional connectivity in cortical-subcortical networks in healthy controls and patients. Similarly, studies in rodents employing techniques such as high-density multi-site in vivo physiology, calcium imaging, and optogenetics will provide unprecedented insights into how cortical-subcortical interactions shape and orchestrate behaviors ranging from anxiety to aggression. We encourage submissions employing these and other experimental techniques, aiming to offer a comprehensive view of cortical-subcortical interactions. We welcome articles of all types, including reviews and original research. We hope that this research topic will provide a venue to encourage vigorous discussion between researchers working with clinical populations and laboratory animals, which in turn may lead to novel hypotheses, models, and therapeutic approaches.


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