Footshock stress but not contextual fear conditioning induces long-term enhancement of auditory-evoked potentials in the basolateral amygdala of the freely behaving rat


R. Garcia, as above. E-mail:


In this study, rats were bilaterally implanted with electrodes in the amygdala for chronic recording. Auditory click stimulation evoked in the basolateral nucleus a field potential characterized by three positive components: P1, P2 and P3 (peak latencies around: 10, 20 and 30 ms, respectively) which were each followed by three negative components: N1, N2 and N3 (peak latencies around: 13, 30 and 50 ms, respectively). Animals were divided into three groups (context-same, context-different and control). Following footshock administration, animals were either re-exposed to the same conditioning chamber (context-same group) or placed in a different context (context-different group) for electrophysiological and behavioural (evaluation of freezing response) recordings. The two early positive-negative complexes (P1-N1 and P2-N2) increased in amplitude from 2 min to 24 h following footshock in both context-same and context-different groups. No significant difference was observed between these two groups. The demonstration of significantly larger freezing responses in context-same subjects on exposure to the aversive conditioned environment indicated that this similarity of effects was not due to lack of conditioning of context under the experimental conditions chosen. We conclude that footshock stress produces general long-lasting changes in amygdala auditory field potentials that are not significantly affected by contextual fear conditioning.