One-way avoidance learning in female inbred Roman high- and low-avoidance rats: effects of bilateral electrolytic central amygdala lesions

Neurosci Lett. 2010 Apr 19;474(1):32-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2010.03.001. Epub 2010 Mar 6.


Female inbred Roman high- (RHA-I) and low- (RLA-I) avoidance rats show differences in one-way avoidance learning only when the task implies a highly aversive situation (1s in the "non-shock"-associated safe compartment, as opposed to 30s). These between-strain differences seem to depend on strain differences in emotionality, given that: (i) they are abolished by IP administration of the GABAergic anxiolytic diazepam (Torres et al. [32]) and (ii) avoidance responding appears to correlate with cellular density in the basolateral amygdala (Gómez et al. [9]). In the present study we further analyzed whether the implication of the amygdala in one-way avoidance depends on the experimental situation aversiveness (30s vs. 1s in safety). After bilateral electrolytic lesions (1mA; 20s) of the central amygdala (CeA), RHA-I and RLA-I rats were exposed to a danger compartment (where they received a warning signal - 88dB tone - followed by a 1mA electric foot-shock), and a safe compartment, where these stimuli were not presented. The number of trials needed to reach 5 consecutive avoidance responses was used as dependent variable. Sham lesioned RLA-I rats showed poorer performance than sham lesioned RHA-I rats only under the 1s condition. The CeA lesion disrupted the avoidance response only in 1s groups, abolishing the between-strain performance differences observed under this condition. These results indicate the implication of CeA in one-way avoidance performance, and suggest a reciprocal modulation of fear and reinforcement (i.e. fear relief) in this form of aversive learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning*
  • Electrolysis
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Species Specificity
  • Time Factors