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The Role of Attention in Category Representation Numerous studies have found that selective attention affects category learning. However, previous research did not distinguish between the contribution of focusing and filtering components of selective attention. This study addresses this issue by examining how components of selective attention affect category representation. Participants first learned a rule-plus-similarity category structure, and then were presented with category priming followed by categorization and recognition tests. Additionally, to evaluate the involvement of focusing and filtering, we fit models with different attentional mechanisms to the data. In Experiment 1, participants received rule-based category training, with specific emphasis on a single deterministic feature (D feature). Experiment 2 added a recognition test to examine participants’ memory for features. Both experiments indicated that participants categorized items based solely on the D feature, showed greater memory for the D feature, were primed exclusively by the D feature without interference from probabilistic features (P features), and were better fit by models with focusing and at least one type of filtering mechanism. The results indicated that selective attention distorted category representation by highlighting the D feature and attenuating P features. To examine whether the distorted representation was specific to rule-based training, Experiment 3 introduced training, emphasizing all features. Under such training, participants were no longer primed by the D feature, they remembered all features well, and they were better fit by the model assuming only focusing but no filtering process. The results coupled with modeling provide novel evidence that while both focusing and filtering contribute to category representation, filtering can also result in representational distortion.

Inferior parietal cortex represents relational structures for explicit transitive inference The human brain is distinguished by its ability to perform explicit logical reasoning like transitive inference. This study investigated the functional role of the inferior parietal cortex in transitive inference with functional MRI. Participants viewed premises describing abstract relations among items. They accurately recalled the relationship between old pairs of items, effectively inferred the relationship between new pairs of items, and discriminated between true and false relationships for new pairs. First, the inferior parietal cortex, but not the hippocampus or lateral prefrontal cortex, was associated with transitive inference. The inferior parietal activity and functional connectivity were modulated by inference (new versus old pairs) and discrimination (true versus false pairs). Moreover, the new/old and true/false pairs were decodable from the inferior parietal representation. Second, the inferior parietal cortex represented an integrated relational structure (ordered and directed series). The inferior parietal activity was modulated by serial position (larger end versus center pairs). The inferior parietal representation was modulated by symbolic distance (adjacent versus distant pairs) and direction (preceding versus following pairs). It suggests that the inferior parietal cortex may flexibly integrate observed relations into a relational structure and use the relational structure to infer unobserved relations and discriminate between true and false relations.

Feeling our place in the world: an active inference account of self-esteem Self-esteem, the evaluation of one’s own worth or value, is a critical aspect of psychological well-being and mental health. In this paper, we propose an active inference account of self-esteem, casting it as a sociometer or an inferential capacity to interpret one’s standing within a social group. This approach allows us to explore the interaction between an individual’s self-perception and the expectations of their social environment.When there is a mismatch between these perceptions and expectations, the individual needs to adjust their actions or update their self-perception to better align with their current experiences. We also consider this hypothesis in relation with recent research on affective inference, suggesting that self-esteem enables the individual to track and respond to this discrepancy through affective states such as anxiety or positive affect. By acting as an inferential sociometer, self-esteem allows individuals to navigate and adapt to their social environment, ultimately impacting their psychological well-being and mental health.

Childhood maltreatment influences adult brain structure through its effects on immune, metabolic, and psychosocial factors Childhood maltreatment (CM) leads to a lifelong susceptibility to mental ill-health which might be reflected by its effects on adult brain structure, perhaps indirectly mediated by its effects on adult metabolic, immune, and psychosocial systems. Indexing these systemic factors via body mass index (BMI), C-reactive protein (CRP), and rates of adult trauma (AT), respectively, we tested three hypotheses: (H1) CM has direct or indirect effects on adult trauma, BMI, and CRP; (H2) adult trauma, BMI, and CRP are all independently related to adult brain structure; and (H3) childhood maltreatment has indirect effects on adult brain structure mediated in parallel by BMI, CRP, and AT. Using path analysis and data from N = 116,887 participants in UK Biobank, we find that CM is related to greater BMI and AT levels, and that these two variables mediate CM’s effects on CRP [H1]. Regression analyses on the UKB MRI subsample (N = 21,738) revealed that greater CRP and BMI were both independently related to a spatially convergent pattern of cortical effects (Spearman’s ρ = 0.87) characterized by fronto-occipital increases and temporo-parietal reductions in thickness. Subcortically, BMI was associated with greater volume, AT with lower volume and CPR with effects in both directions [H2]. Finally, path models indicated that CM has indirect effects in a subset of brain regions mediated through its direct effects on BMI and AT and indirect effects on CRP [H3]. Results provide evidence that childhood maltreatment can influence brain structure decades after exposure by increasing individual risk toward adult trauma, obesity, and inflammation.

Skin Reinnervation by Collateral Sprouting Following Spared Nerve Injury in Mice Following peripheral nerve injury, denervated tissues can be reinnervated via regeneration of injured neurons or collateral sprouting of neighboring uninjured afferents into denervated territory. While there has been substantial focus on mechanisms underlying regeneration, collateral sprouting has received less attention. Here, we used immunohistochemistry and genetic neuronal labeling to define the subtype specificity of sprouting-mediated reinnervation of plantar hindpaw skin in the mouse spared nerve injury (SNI) model, in which productive regeneration cannot occur. Following initial loss of cutaneous afferents in the tibial nerve territory, we observed progressive centripetal reinnervation by multiple subtypes of neighboring uninjured fibers into denervated glabrous and hairy plantar skin of male mice. In addition to dermal reinnervation, CGRP-expressing peptidergic fibers slowly but continuously repopulated denervated epidermis, Interestingly, GFRα2-expressing nonpeptidergic fibers exhibited a transient burst of epidermal reinnervation, followed by a trend towards regression. Presumptive sympathetic nerve fibers also sprouted into denervated territory, as did a population of myelinated TrkC lineage fibers, though the latter did so inefficiently. Conversely, rapidly adapting Aβ fiber and C fiber low threshold mechanoreceptor (LTMR) subtypes failed to exhibit convincing sprouting up to 8 weeks after nerve injury in males or females. Optogenetics and behavioral assays in male mice further demonstrated the functionality of collaterally sprouted fibers in hairy plantar skin with restoration of punctate mechanosensation without hypersensitivity. Our findings advance understanding of differential collateral sprouting among sensory neuron subpopulations and may guide strategies to promote the progression of sensory recovery or limit maladaptive sensory phenomena after peripheral nerve injury.

Deciphering molecular heterogeneity and dynamics of human hippocampal neural stem cells at different ages and injury states While accumulated publications support the existence of neurogenesis in the adult human hippocampus, the homeostasis and developmental potentials of neural stem cells (NSCs) under different contexts remain unclear. Based on our generated single-nucleus atlas of the human hippocampus across neonatal, adult, aging, and injury, we dissected the molecular heterogeneity and transcriptional dynamics of human hippocampal NSCs under different contexts. We further identified new specific neurogenic lineage markers that overcome the lack of specificity found in some well-known markers. Based on developmental trajectory and molecular signatures, we found that a subset of NSCs exhibit quiescent properties after birth, and most NSCs become deep quiescence during aging. Furthermore, certain deep quiescent NSCs are reactivated following stroke injury. Together, our findings provide valuable insights into the development, aging, and reactivation of the human hippocampal NSCs, and help to explain why adult hippocampal neurogenesis is infrequently observed in humans.

Preconditioning-induced facilitation of lactate release from astrocytes is essential for brain ischemic tolerance A sub-lethal ischemic episode (termed preconditioning [PC]) protects neurons in the brain against a subsequent severe ischemic injury. This phenomenon is known as brain ischemic tolerance, and has received much attention from researchers because of its robust neuroprotective effects. We have previously reported that PC activates astrocytes and subsequently upregulates P2X7 receptors, thereby leading to ischemic tolerance. However, the downstream signals of P2X7 receptors that are responsible for PC-induced ischemic tolerance remain unknown. Here, we show that PC-induced P2X7 receptor-mediated lactate release from astrocytes has an indispensable role in this event. Using a transient focal cerebral ischemia model caused by middle cerebral artery occlusion, extracellular lactate levels during severe ischemia were significantly increased in mice who experienced PC; this increase was dependent on P2X7 receptors. In addition, the intracerebroventricular injection of lactate protected against cerebral ischemic injury. In in vitro experiments, although stimulation of astrocytes with the P2X7 receptor agonist BzATP had no effect on the protein levels of monocarboxylate transporter (MCT) 1 and MCT4 (which are responsible for lactate release from astrocytes), BzATP induced the plasma membrane translocation of these MCTs via their chaperone CD147. Importantly, CD147 was increased in activated astrocytes after PC, and CD147-blocking antibody abolished the PC-induced facilitation of astrocytic lactate release and ischemic tolerance. Taken together, our findings suggest that astrocytes induce ischemic tolerance via P2X7 receptor-mediated lactate release.

Messenger RNA transport on lysosomal vesicles maintains axonal mitochondrial homeostasis and prevents axonal degeneration In neurons, RNA granules are transported along the axon for local translation away from the soma. Recent studies indicate that some of this transport involves hitchhiking of RNA granules on lysosome-related vesicles. In the present study, we leveraged the ability to prevent transport of these vesicles into the axon by knockout of the lysosome–kinesin adaptor BLOC-one-related complex (BORC) to identify a subset of axonal mRNAs that depend on lysosome-related vesicles for transport. We found that BORC knockout causes depletion of a large group of axonal mRNAs mainly encoding ribosomal and mitochondrial/oxidative phosphorylation proteins. This depletion results in mitochondrial defects and eventually leads to axonal degeneration in human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived and mouse neurons. Pathway analyses of the depleted mRNAs revealed a mechanistic connection of BORC deficiency with common neurodegenerative disorders. These results demonstrate that mRNA transport on lysosome-related vesicles is critical for the maintenance of axonal homeostasis and that its failure causes axonal degeneration.