Hypothalamic Control of Visual Processing

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Sensory overload is the feeling of over-stimulation that may lead to increased anxiety and panic in individuals with psychiatric disorders such as autism, post traumatic stress disorder, etc. Understanding visual processing is crucial to enhancing our treatments for disorders where sensory overload is a symptom. How do changes in internal states such as stress or hunger alter visual processing? This project aims to explore how visual processing is affected by signaling in the hypothalamus, an area of the brain regulating changes in internal states and stress. Preliminary studies revealed there are a number of neurons projecting from the lateral area of the hypothalamus to the visual cortex. We want to understand the specific location, identity, and neural circuits of these neurons. Visual cortex neurons were retrogradely traced to identify which inputs originate from the hypothalamus, and the geographical location of these cells was mapped out. The molecular identities of these projection neurons was further explored using specific RNAScope probes to check if those cells are expressing any of four genes most commonly expressed in the hypothalamus: Gal, Crh, Hcrt, and Pmch. This exploration will help us understand the type of signals communicated from the hypothalamic nuclei to the visual cortex to modulate visual processing.

Andejani, N. (2023). Hypothalamic Control of Visual Processing [KAUST Research Repository]. https://doi.org/10.25781/KAUST-Z2D83


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