PhD Scientific Days 2024

Budapest, 9-10 July 2024

Poster Session I - Neurosciences 2.

The Lateral Septum And Its Multifaceted Role In Anxiety


Victoria Lyakhova1,2, Dániel Schlingloff1,2, Balázs Hangya2
1: Semmelweis University
2: Institute of Experimental Medicine, Lendület Laboratory of Systems Neuroscience, Budapest, Hungary

Text of the abstract

The lateral septum (LS) is known to play a crucial role in regulating emotional states like anxiety and aggression, as well as influencing social behaviors, potentially in a sex-specific manner. Despite ample experimental evidence supporting these functions, the precise mechanisms through which the LS exerts these effects remain unclear due to conflicting findings. Although traditionally considered to consist solely of GABAergic cells, our research has identified a subset of LS cells expressing markers characteristic of cholinergic neurons.

In this study, we aim to elucidate the function of this specific neuronal population, referred to as LS cholinergic cells (LSCNs), by selectively manipulating their activity using optogenetic tools and assessing behavioral responses in various anxiety-related tasks, including the Open Field Test, Elevated Plus Maze, Place Preference Test and Light-dark Box. Additionally, we explore neuronal activation patterns in response to olfactory stimuli using the fox odor test coupled with c-Fos staining, alongside the pheromone Darcin-containing urine samples. Concurrently, we investigate the connectivity of LSCNs using anterograde and retrograde tracing techniques.

Preliminary findings indicate that activation of LSCNs induces anxiety-like behavior irrespective of sex. However, activation patterns observed in the LS during the fox odor test do not overlap with LSCNs, suggesting distinct neural circuits at play.

Moving forward, we plan to employ a diverse array of techniques, including optogenetic inhibition, fiber photometry, electrophysiology, and anatomical and cellular composition studies, to further unravel the functional role of LSCNs within the LS and their broader implications for emotional regulation, social behavior and cognitive function.

This research was supported by the HUN-REN Hungarian Research Network, the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (NKFIH KH125294, NKFIH K135561) and the Hungarian Brain Research Program 3.0. We also thank all our colleagues at the Lendület Systems Neuroscience research group.

• E-mail address:
• University: Semmelweis University
• Supervisor: Balázs Hangya