Inhibitory transmission in the basolateral amygdala

J Neurophysiol. 1991 Sep;66(3):999-1009. doi: 10.1152/jn.1991.66.3.999.


1. Intracellular recording techniques were used to characterize synaptic inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) recorded from neurons of the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA). Bipolar electrodes positioned in the stria terminalis (ST) or lateral amygdala (LA) were used to evoke synaptic responses at a frequency of 0.25 Hz. 2. Two synaptic waveforms having IPSP components could be evoked by electrical stimulation of either pathway: a biphasic, excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP), fast-IPSP (f-IPSP) waveform, and a multiphasic, EPSP, f-IPSP, and subsequent slow-IPSP (s-IPSP) waveform. Expression of either waveform was dependent on the site of stimulation. ST stimulation evoked a similar number of biphasic (45%) and multiphasic (50%) synaptic responses. In contrast, stimulation of the LA pathway evoked mainly (80%) multiphasic synaptic responses. 3. Both the f- and s-IPSP elicited by ST stimulation could be reduced in amplitude in the presence of the glutamatergic, N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist, (DL)-2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (APV, 50 microM), and were abolished by the glutamatergic, non-NMDA antagonist, 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX, 10 microM). In contrast, a CNQX-resistant f-IPSP was evoked with LA stimulation and abolished by subsequent addition of bicuculline methiodide (BMI), a gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABAA) receptor antagonist, suggesting direct inhibition of BLA neurons by GABAergic LA interneurons. The sensitivity of the s-IPSPs and the f-IPSPs to glutamatergic antagonists suggests the presence of feed-forward inhibition onto BLA neurons. 4. The f-IPSP possessed characteristics of potentials mediated by GABAA receptors linked to Cl- channels, namely, a reversal potential of -70 mV, a decrease in membrane resistance (13.5 M omega) recorded at -60 mV, a block by BMI, and potentiation by sodium pentobarbital (NaPB). 5. The s-IPSP was associated with a resistance decrease of 4.5 M omega, a reversal potential of -95 mV, and was reversibly depressed (approximately 66%) by 2-hydroxy-saclofen (100 microM), suggesting activation of GABAB receptors. 6. The large resistance change associated with the f-IPSP, its temporal overlap with evoked EPSPs, and the development of both spontaneous and evoked burst firing in the presence of BMI suggests that the f-IPSP determines the primary state of excitability in BLA neurons.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate / pharmacology
  • 6-Cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Baclofen / analogs & derivatives
  • Baclofen / pharmacology
  • Bicuculline / pharmacology
  • Evoked Potentials / drug effects
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Pentobarbital / pharmacology
  • Potassium / physiology
  • Quinoxalines / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, GABA-A / drug effects
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / pharmacology
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology


  • Quinoxalines
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • 6-Cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione
  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate
  • Baclofen
  • Pentobarbital
  • Potassium
  • 2-hydroxysaclofen
  • Bicuculline