Amygdala and ventral hippocampus contribute differentially to mechanisms of fear and anxiety

Behav Neurosci. 2004 Feb;118(1):63-78. doi: 10.1037/0735-7044.118.1.63.


Cytotoxic ventral hippocampal lesions produced anxiolytic effects on 4 ethologically based, unconditioned tests of anxiety in the rat (hyponeophagia, black/white 2-compartment box test, a successive alleys test that represents a modified version of the elevated plus-maze, and a social interaction test). Dorsal hippocampal lesions did not produce anxiolytic effects on these tests, suggesting a distinct specialization of function within the hippocampus. Furthermore, the effects of ventral hippocampal lesions were also distinct from those of amygdala lesions. This suggests that the effects of ventral hippocampal lesions are not simply due to direct or indirect effects on the amygdala, and that these 2 brain areas contribute differentially to a brain system (or systems) associated with the processing of fearful and/or anxiogenic stimuli.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Anxiety / physiopathology*
  • Fear / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Rats