Corticolimbic catecholamines in stress: a computational model of the appraisal of controllability

Appraisal of a stressful situation and the possibility to control or avoid it is thought to involve frontal-cortical mechanisms. The precise mechanism underlying this appraisal and its translation into effective stress coping (the regulation of physiological and behavioural responses) are poorly understood. Here, we propose a computational model which involves tuning motivational arousal to the appraised stressing condition. The model provides a causal explanation of the shift from active to passive coping strategies, i.e. from a condition characterised by high motivational arousal, required to deal with a situation appraised as stressful, to a condition characterised by emotional and motivational withdrawal, required when the stressful situation is appraised as uncontrollable/unavoidable. The model is motivated by results acquired via microdialysis recordings in rats and highlights the presence of two competing circuits dominated by different areas of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex: these are shown having opposite effects on several subcortical areas, affecting dopamine outflow in the striatum, and therefore controlling motivation. We start by reviewing published data supporting structure and functioning of the neural model and present the computational model itself with its essential neural mechanisms. Finally, we show the results of a new experiment, involving the condition of repeated inescapable stress, which validate most of the model's predictions. © 2014 The Author(s).

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Author or Creator: 
Fiore, Vincenzo G.
Mannella, Francesco
Mirolli, Marco
Latagliata, Emanuele Claudio
Valzania, Alessandro
Cabib, Simona
Dolan, Ray J.
Puglisi-Allegra, Stefano
Baldassarre, Gianluca
Springer, Heidelberg ;, Germania
Brain structure & function (Print) 220 (2015): 1339–1353. doi:10.1007/s00429-014-0727-7
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Fiore, Vincenzo G.; Mannella, Francesco; Mirolli, Marco; Latagliata, Emanuele Claudio; Valzania, Alessandro; Cabib, Simona; Dolan, Ray J.; Puglisi-Allegra, Stefano; Baldassarre, Gianluca/titolo:Corticolimbic catecholamines in st
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Ritratto di Marco Mirolli
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Ritratto di Francesco Mannella
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