Medial preoptic circuit induces hunting-like actions to target objects and prey

Journal: Nature Neuroscience

Published: 2018-01-29

DOI: 10.1038/s41593-018-0072-x

Affiliations: 2

Authors: 12

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Research Highlight

Mind control for mice

© Teltra Images/Getty

© Teltra Images/Getty

Remote-controlled cyborg mice developed by a team at KAIST could shed light on hoarding disorders and shopping addictions.

The team pinpointed a set of neurons in part of the brain’s hypothalamus that sends projections to a site in the midbrain. Activation of this circuit prompts mice to track down desired toys and to hunt prey.

By outfitting mice with headgear that can stimulate this region of the brain with light — via a technique called optogenetics — the researchers created cyborg mice that obeyed navigational commands while ignoring enticing distractions such as potential mates or plates of food.

Similar machine−animal hybrids could aid military search missions, the authors suggest. The steerable mice also offer a platform for better understanding neurological conditions, such as compulsive hoarding disorder, in which people are pathologically drawn to acquire certain objects.

Supported content

  1. Nature Neuroscience 21, 364–372 (2018). doi: 10.1038/s41593-018-0072-x
Institutions Share
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), South Korea 1