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Advances in Neural Circuitry and Mechanisms underlying Stress, Drug addiction, and Stress-Related Mental Disorders

About this Research Topic

Manuscript Submission Deadline 02 October 2023

Mental illness is one of the greatest challenges in modern societies. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, depression alone affected around 300 million individuals globally. In recent years, epidemiological studies across the world indicate an alarming rise in the need for mental health support, especially among adolescents and young adults. There is an urgent need to thoroughly understand how the brain controls fear and stress, from genes to genomes or epigenomes and molecules to neural circuits, and the neurobiological basis and mechanisms that underlie the ill effects of trauma or chronic stress, which altogether predisposes individuals to a greater risk of developing neuropsychiatric disorders and addiction to drugs and alcohol later in life. This knowledge will ultimately help us in the discovery of novel therapeutics interventions against stress-related mental disorders.

In recent years, advances in next-generation sequencing and single-cell multi-omics technologies have enabled rapid characterization of the brain, providing a detailed molecular complexity of brain cell types and disease-associated mechanisms. Remarkably, genome-wide association studies for stress-related disorders, including depression and anxiety, and addiction are now beginning to provide key genomic loci to explore causal mechanisms. On the other hand, the advances in genome editing tools and the development of new neurogenetic technologies (such as optogenetics, chemogenetics, fiber photometry, and brain imaging) have expanded the neuroscience toolkit essential to explore the functional roles of genes or genetically defined neural circuits or to selectively manipulate or record the activity of a genetically defined population of neurons in live moving and behaving animals. Altogether, these advances are revolutionizing our understanding of how circuits function in the brain, paving new avenues and offering new hopes to discover and develop novel therapies to treat stress-related mental disorders.

In this Research Topic, “Advances in Neural Circuitry and Mechanisms underlying Stress, Drug addiction, and Stress-Related Mental Disorders”, we wish to highlight the emerging trends and discoveries in the neurobiological underpinnings of stress and drug abuse. We welcome empirical papers for consideration and the following article types: Original Research, Case Report, Review, Systematic Review, and Mini Review.

Themes of interest include the following:

• The neuronal circuitry and pathways underlying stress/addiction behaviors.
• The role of different brain regions in stress/addiction behaviors.
• Single-cell Omics, including transcriptome, genome, epigenome, chromatin accessibility, proteome, of brain circuitry of stress, addiction, and related pathways.
• The relationship between stress/drug abuse and neuropsychiatric conditions, such as anxiety and/or depression.
• The cellular and molecular mechanisms that confer susceptibility and resilience and the underlying sex differences in stress-related disorders and addiction.

Keywords: stress, addiction, substance abuse, neural circuits, alcohol, circuitry, molecular mechanisms, cellular mechanisms


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Mental illness is one of the greatest challenges in modern societies. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, depression alone affected around 300 million individuals globally. In recent years, epidemiological studies across the world indicate an alarming rise in the need for mental health support, especially among adolescents and young adults. There is an urgent need to thoroughly understand how the brain controls fear and stress, from genes to genomes or epigenomes and molecules to neural circuits, and the neurobiological basis and mechanisms that underlie the ill effects of trauma or chronic stress, which altogether predisposes individuals to a greater risk of developing neuropsychiatric disorders and addiction to drugs and alcohol later in life. This knowledge will ultimately help us in the discovery of novel therapeutics interventions against stress-related mental disorders.

In recent years, advances in next-generation sequencing and single-cell multi-omics technologies have enabled rapid characterization of the brain, providing a detailed molecular complexity of brain cell types and disease-associated mechanisms. Remarkably, genome-wide association studies for stress-related disorders, including depression and anxiety, and addiction are now beginning to provide key genomic loci to explore causal mechanisms. On the other hand, the advances in genome editing tools and the development of new neurogenetic technologies (such as optogenetics, chemogenetics, fiber photometry, and brain imaging) have expanded the neuroscience toolkit essential to explore the functional roles of genes or genetically defined neural circuits or to selectively manipulate or record the activity of a genetically defined population of neurons in live moving and behaving animals. Altogether, these advances are revolutionizing our understanding of how circuits function in the brain, paving new avenues and offering new hopes to discover and develop novel therapies to treat stress-related mental disorders.

In this Research Topic, “Advances in Neural Circuitry and Mechanisms underlying Stress, Drug addiction, and Stress-Related Mental Disorders”, we wish to highlight the emerging trends and discoveries in the neurobiological underpinnings of stress and drug abuse. We welcome empirical papers for consideration and the following article types: Original Research, Case Report, Review, Systematic Review, and Mini Review.

Themes of interest include the following:

• The neuronal circuitry and pathways underlying stress/addiction behaviors.
• The role of different brain regions in stress/addiction behaviors.
• Single-cell Omics, including transcriptome, genome, epigenome, chromatin accessibility, proteome, of brain circuitry of stress, addiction, and related pathways.
• The relationship between stress/drug abuse and neuropsychiatric conditions, such as anxiety and/or depression.
• The cellular and molecular mechanisms that confer susceptibility and resilience and the underlying sex differences in stress-related disorders and addiction.

Keywords: stress, addiction, substance abuse, neural circuits, alcohol, circuitry, molecular mechanisms, cellular mechanisms


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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