An animal's evolutionary success depends on the ability to seek and consume foods while avoiding environmental threats. However, how evolutionarily conserved threat detection circuits modulate feeding is unknown. In mammals, feeding and threat assessment are strongly influenced by the parabrachial nucleus (PBN), a structure that responds to threats and inhibits feeding. Here, we report that the PBN receives dense inputs from two discrete neuronal populations in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), an extended amygdala structure that encodes affective information. Using a series of complementary approaches, we identify opposing BNST-PBN circuits that modulate neuropeptide-expressing PBN neurons to control feeding and affective states. These previously unrecognized neural circuits thus serve as potential nodes of neural circuitry critical for the integration of threat information with the intrinsic drive to feed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabd3666
JournalScience Advances
Issue number9
StatePublished - Feb 24 2021


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