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Single-unit recording of auditory and nociceptive responses from lateral amygdala neurons during auditory fear conditioning in freely behaving rats



Single-unit recording of auditory and nociceptive responses from lateral amygdala neurons during auditory fear conditioning in freely behaving rats



Society for Neuroscience Abstracts 26(1-2): Abstract No. 466-4



Convergent auditory and nociceptive inputs to LA may drive Hebbian synaptic plasticity that underlies memory storage during auditory fear conditioning (LeDoux 1995, Ann Rev Psych* 46:209-35). Supporting this theory, it has been shown that LA neurons respond to both auditory and nociceptive stimuli in anesthetized rats (Muramoto et al. 1993, Neurosci 52:621-36; Romanski et al. 1993, Beh Neurosci* 107:444-50), and that fear conditioning to a tone CS potentiates auditory evoked responses in LA (Quirk et al. 1995, Neuron* 15:1029-39; Rogan et al. 1997, Nature* 390:604-7). Here, for the first time, we recorded responses of LA neurons to auditory and nociceptive stimuli during auditory fear conditioning in freely moving rats. Auditory fear conditioning was conducted in a chamber where hungry rats searched for small food pellets dropped randomly by an overhead dispenser. The CS was a train of 20 white noise pips (80 dB), each 250 ms in duration, presented at a rate of 1 Hz (total CS duration=19.25 s). The US, which began 300 ms after the last CS pip, was a train of 8 shock pulses (2.5 mA), each 2 ms in duration, delivered to the eyelid at a rate of 5 Hz (total US duration=l.4 s). Training consisted of 6 habituation (CS alone) trials, 6 sensitization (unpaired CS/US) trials, 16 acquisition (paired CS-US) trials, and 16 extinction (CS alone) trials. Freezing behavior was measured to verify that conditioning was successful in all rats. Neurons (n=25) were recorded from LA and the amygdalostriatal transition area in 5 rats; 5 cells responded to the CS alone, 3 responded to the US alone, 7 responded to both CS and US, and 10 had no clear firing correlate. Of the 12 CS responsive cells, 3 increased their CS response during acquisition, and all 3 were shock responsive; 2 cells decreased their CS response during acquisition, and neither was shock responsive. These preliminary findings are consistent with the theory that convergent auditory and nociceptive inputs may support Hebbian learning in LA.

Accession: 035735608

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