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November 30, 2008

The Journal of Neuroscience

The Journal of Neuroscience is a weekly publication developed and run by the Society for Neuroscience. It is meant to keep all members of the society up to date on current research practices as well as announce the latest developments in the field. Membership to SfN comes with a subscription to Neuroscience.

In the most recent issue there was an article titled “The Role of Neuropeptide Y in the Expression and Extinction of Fear-Potentiated Startle”. The article was written by Alisa R. Gutman, Yong Yang, Kerry J. Ressler, and Michael Davis and focused on the role Neuropeptide Y has conditioned fear. The researchers discovered that this specific neuropeptide could eliminate a certain conditioned fear while a “antagonist form” of the neuropeptide could stop that fear from ever being eliminated. This shows the Neuropeptide Y in fact plays a crucial role in conditioned fear.

A neuropeptide is just a specific name for any peptide found in the neural tissue. Peptides are just one of the chemical signals the body uses to communicate throughout the body. Peptides are most commonly know for their role in making proteins but they can take many other forms. Neuropeptide Y in particular works with the neurotransmitter Norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is a stress hormone that plays a key role in understanding anxiety.

The results of this study are exciting to the world of cognitive and behavioral research. Being able to isolate and understand the effects this neuropetide has on fear will open the doors to more research and more discoveries. Additionally, the understanding of the role Neuropeptide Y plays in conditioned fears can help for the development of treatments for the many people afflicted with conditioned and often irrational fears.

Below is a picture of the structure of the Neuropeptide Y.

Source: google images

Posted by horr at November 30, 2008 11:30 AM