Synaptic plasticity in the central nucleus of the amygdala

Rev Neurosci. 2005;16(4):287-302. doi: 10.1515/revneuro.2005.16.4.287.


In recent years, the amygdala has emerged as a critical site of plasticity for the acquisition of various forms of Pavlovian learning, either aversive or appetitive. In most of these models, the critical site of plasticity has been localized to the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA). In contrast, the central nucleus of the amygdala has emerged as a passive relay of potentiated BLA outputs toward downstream effectors. At odds with this view, however, recent studies suggest that the central nucleus may also be a site of plasticity and play an active role in some forms of Pavlovian learning. The present review summarizes the evidence supporting this possibility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala* / anatomy & histology
  • Amygdala* / physiology
  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Synapses / physiology*