Inhibitory responses of rat basolateral amygdaloid neurons recorded in vitro

Neuroscience. 1992 Oct;50(4):811-30. doi: 10.1016/0306-4522(92)90206-h.


The purpose of the present study was to characterize the ionic and pharmacological basis of the actions of synaptically released and exogenously applied GABA in basolateral amygdaloid pyramidal cells in vitro. Stimulation of forebrain afferents to pyramidal neurons in the basolateral amygdala evoked an excitatory postsynaptic potential followed by early and late inhibitory postsynaptic potentials. The early inhibitory postsynaptic potential had a reversal potential near -70 mV, was sensitive to changes in the chloride gradient across the membrane and was blocked by the GABAA antagonists picrotoxin and bicuculline methiodide but not by the GABAB antagonists phaclofen or 2-hydroxysaclofen. In contrast, the late inhibitory postsynaptic potential had a reversal potential of approximately -95 mV and was markedly reduced or abolished by GABAB antagonists. Pressure application of GABA to the surface of the slice typically elicited a triphasic response in basolateral amygdaloid pyramidal neurons consisting of a short-latency hyperpolarization that preceded or was superimposed on a membrane depolarization followed by a longer latency hyperpolarization. Each of the responses was associated with an increase in membrane conductance. Determinations of the reversal potential, ionic dependency and sensitivity to pharmacological blockade of each component of the GABA-induced response revealed that the initial hyperpolarizing (Erev approximately -70 mV) and depolarizing (Erev approximately -55 mV) responses were mediated by a GABAA-mediated increase in chloride conductance, whereas the late hyperpolarizing response (Erev approximately -82 mV) to GABA arose from a GABAB-mediated increase in potassium conductance. Experiments in which GABA was applied at various locations on the cell suggested that the short-latency hyperpolarization resulted from activation of somatic GABA receptors, whereas the depolarizing and late hyperpolarizing responses were generated primarily in the dendrites. In contrast to the complex membrane response profile elicited by GABA, pressure ejection of the GABAB agonist baclofen produced only membrane hyperpolarizations. Taken together, these results suggest that inhibitory responses that are recorded in basolateral amygdaloid pyramidal cells are mediated by activation of both GABAA and GABAB receptors. Consistent with findings elsewhere in the CNS, the early inhibitory postsynaptic potential and initial hyperpolarization and depolarizing response to local GABA application appear to involve a GABAA-mediated increase in chloride conductance, whereas the late inhibitory postsynaptic potential and the late hyperpolarizing response to GABA arise from a GABAB-mediated increase in potassium conductance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 8-Bromo Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate / pharmacology
  • Amygdala / cytology
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Baclofen / pharmacology
  • Bicuculline / pharmacology
  • Electrophysiology
  • Histocytochemistry
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Isoquinolines
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Picrotoxin / pharmacology
  • Pyramidal Tracts / cytology
  • Pyramidal Tracts / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, GABA-A / drug effects
  • Stereotyped Behavior
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Isoquinolines
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Picrotoxin
  • 8-Bromo Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • lucifer yellow
  • Baclofen
  • Bicuculline