Acoustic responses of single units were examined in awake, freely behaving rats in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (AL). Recordings were made from a movable bundle of 9 microwires. Most cells had very low rates of spontaneous activity (about 3 spikes/s on average). Firing rates increased during sleep states. Short-latency auditory responses (12-25 ms) were found in the dorsal subnucleus (ALd) of the AL. Cells in the ALd most typically responded in a sustained fashion. Some of the cells in the ALd showed preferences for high frequencies, tone bursts, or frequency-modulated stimuli with center frequencies above 12 kHz. Response latencies were considerably longer in other areas of the amygdala. Our results corroborate the main findings of a previous study (F. Bordi & J. LeDoux, 1992) that examined the acoustic response properties of single cells in the AL in anesthetized rats. Together the findings from awake and anesthetized rats provide the most precise information about sensory processing in amygdala neurons available to date.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience