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Keywords:

  • fear;
  • GABA;
  • glutamate;
  • LTP

Abstract

Whole-cell patch clamp recordings were made from pyramidal neurons in the rat lateral amygdala (LA). Synaptic currents were evoked by stimulating in either the external capsule (ec), internal capsule (ic) or basolateral nucleus (BLA). Stimulation of either the ic, ec or BLA evoked a glutamatergic excitatory synaptic current (EPSC) which was mediated by both non-NMDA and NMDA (N-methyl-d-aspartic acid) receptors. The ratio of the amplitude of the NMDA receptor-mediated component measured at +40 mV to the amplitude of the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) component measured at –60 mV was similar regardless of whether EPSCs were evoked in the ec, ic or BLA. At resting membrane potentials, excitatory synaptic potentials evoked from either the ec or putative thalamic inputs were unaffected by application of the NMDA receptor antagonist APV. Spontaneous glutamatergic currents had two components to their decay phase. The slow component was selectively blocked by the NMDA receptor antagonist D-APV, indicating that AMPA and NMDA receptors are colocalized in spiny neurons. We conclude that pyramidal cells of the LA receive convergent inputs from the cortex, thalamus and basal nuclei. At all inputs, both AMPA/kainate and NMDA-type receptors are active and colocalized in the postsynaptic density.