• hippocampal long-term potentiation;
  • basomedial amygdala;
  • basolateral amygdala;
  • amygdalo-hippocampal interaction;
  • rat


Recent behavioural studies have provided evidence that the amygdala modulates hippocampal-dependent memory. To test the possibility that the amygdala modulates hippocampal synaptic plasticity, we investigated the effects of surgical lesions of the amygdaloid nuclei on the induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) in the dentate gyrus of anaesthetized rats. Previously we reported that LTP in the dentate gyrus was attenuated by lesion of the basolateral amygdala, but was not affected by lesion of the central amygdala. In the present study, dentate gyrus LTP was significantly attenuated by basomedial amygdala lesion but not by medial amygdala lesion. These results suggest that, among the amygdaloid nuclei, the basomedial and basolateral nuclei are involved in the modulation of hippocampal plasticity. The roles of the basomedial and basolateral amygdala were further supported by experiments examining the effects of electrical stimulation of these nuclei. High-frequency stimulation of the basomedial amygdala alone did not induce dentate gyrus LTP, but when applied at the same time as tetanic stimulation of the perforant path increased the magnitude of the dentate gyrus LTP. Similarly, high-frequency stimulation of the basolateral amygdala enhanced LTP induced by tetanic stimulation of the perforant path. Furthermore, facilitation of dentate gyrus LTP by basomedial or basolateral amygdala stimulation was observed even in rats lesioned in either amygdala, suggesting that neurons in the basomedial and basolateral amygdala can modulate dentate gyrus LTP independently. Activity-dependent facilitation of hippocampal plasticity by the basomedial and basolateral amygdala may underlie memory processing associated with emotion.