Priming stimulation of basal but not lateral amygdala affects long-term potentiation in the rat dentate gyrus in vivo

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The amygdaloid complex, or amygdala, has been implicated in assigning emotional significance to sensory information and producing appropriate behavioral responses to external stimuli. The lateral and basal nuclei (lateral and basal amygdala), which are termed together as basolateral amygdala, play a critical role in emotional and motivational learning and memory. It has been established that the basolateral amygdala activation by behavioral manipulations or direct electrical stimulation can modulate hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP), a putative cellular mechanism of memory. However, the specific functional role of each subnucleus in the modulation of hippocampal LTP has not been studied yet, even though studies have shown cytoarchitectural differences between the basal and lateral amygdala and differences in the connections of each one of them to other brain areas. In this study we have tested the effects of lateral or basal amygdala pre-stimulation on hippocampal dentate gyrus LTP, induced by theta burst stimulation of the perforant path, in anesthetized rats. We found that while priming stimulation of the lateral amygdala did not affect LTP of the dentate gyrus, priming stimulation of the basal amygdala enhanced the LTP response when the priming stimulation was relatively weak, but impaired it when it was relatively strong. These results show that the basal and lateral nuclei of the amygdala, which have been already shown to differ in their anatomy and connectivity, may also have different functional roles. These findings raise the possibility that the lateral and basal amygdala differentially modulate memory processes in the hippocampus under emotional and motivational situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-21
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 9 Aug 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by The Israel Science Foundation Grant (No. 1403/07 ) to G.R.-L., and by the Institute for the Study of Affective Neuroscience, University of Haifa , which was endowed by the Hope for Depression Research Foundation.


  • Basolateral amygdala
  • Dentate gyrus
  • Emotional memory
  • Hippocampus
  • Long-term potentiation (LTP)
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)


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