In search of the neuronal basis of social and affective touch (in mice)
Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle de Montpellier (IGF)
Our team focus on understanding the physiological function of C-low threshold mechanoreceptors (C-LTMRs), a specific population of somatosensory neurons in mice that appears particularly well suited, physiologically and anatomically, to perceive affective and social touch.
In order to identify the mechanisms underlying the perception of affective touch, we developed new techniques to artificially manipulate the neuronal activity of these C-LTMRs and investigate social touch in rodents.
In this presentation, I will present our latest results regarding the modulation of C-LTMRs and its effects on diverse social interaction. Precisely, I will demonstrate that C-LTMRs functional deficiency induces social isolation and reduces tactile interactions in adulthood, and conversely, that transient increase in C-LTMRs excitability in adults is rewarding, promotes touch-seeking behaviours and has pro-social influences on group dynamics. I will also discuss new insights on how the information carried by the C-LTMRs is integrated into the central nervous system.
Invited by Françoise Muscatelli
Monday, June 5 at 11am – Inmed conference room