Predator odor-induced conditioned fear involves the basolateral and medial amygdala

Behav Neurosci. 2007 Feb;121(1):100-10. doi: 10.1037/0735-7044.121.1.100.


The basolateral (BLA) and medial nucleus (MeA) of the amygdala participate in the modulation of unconditioned fear induced by predator odor. However, the specific role of these amygdalar nuclei in predator odor-induced fear memory is not known. Therefore, fiber-sparing lesions or temporary inactivation of the BLA or MeA were made either prior to or after exposure to cat odor, and conditioned contextual fear behavior was examined the next day. BLA and MeA lesions produced significant reductions in cat odor-induced unconditioned and conditioned fear-related behavior. In addition, temporary pharmacological neural inactivation methods occurring after exposure to cat odor revealed subtle behavioral alterations indicative of a role of the BLA in fear memory consolidation but not memory retrieval. In contrast, the MeA appears to play a specific role in retrieval but not consolidation. Results show that the BLA participates in the conditioned and unconditioned cat odor stimulus association that underlies fear memory, underscore a novel role of the MeA in predator odor contextual conditioning, and demonstrate different roles of the BLA and MeA in modulating consolidation and retrieval of predator odor fear memory.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / anatomy & histology*
  • Amygdala / drug effects
  • Amygdala / injuries
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Conditioning, Classical / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology*
  • Fear*
  • Freezing Reaction, Cataleptic / drug effects
  • GABA Agonists / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Muscimol / pharmacology
  • Odorants*
  • Predatory Behavior / drug effects
  • Predatory Behavior / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans


  • GABA Agonists
  • Muscimol