Previous studies have shown that the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (AL) is essential in auditory fear conditioning and that neurons in the AL respond to auditory stimuli. The goals of the present study were to determine whether neurons in the AL are also responsive to somatosensory stimuli and, if so, whether single neurons in the AL respond to both auditory and somatosensory stimulation. Single-unit activity was recorded in the AL in anesthetized rats during the presentation of acoustic (clicks) and somatosensory (footshock) stimuli. Neurons in the dorsal subdivision of the AL responded to both somatosensory and auditory stimuli, whereas neurons in the ventrolateral AL responded only to somatosensory stimuli and neurons in the ventromedial AL did not respond to either stimuli. These findings indicate that the dorsal AL is a site of auditory and somatosensory convergence and may therefore be a locus of convergence of conditioned and unconditioned stimuli in auditory fear conditioning.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience