Chemosensory function of the amygdala

Vitam Horm. 2010:83:165-96. doi: 10.1016/S0083-6729(10)83007-9.


The chemosensory amygdala has been traditionally divided into two divisions based on inputs from the main (olfactory amygdala) or accessory (vomeronasal amygdala) olfactory bulbs, supposedly playing different and independent functional roles detecting odors and pheromones, respectively. Recently, there has been increased anatomical evidence of convergence inputs from the main and accessory bulbs in some areas of the amygdala, and this is correlated with functional evidence of interrelationships between the olfactory and the vomeronasal systems. This has lead to the characterization of a third division of the chemosensory amygdala, the mixed chemosensory amygdala, providing a new perspective of how chemosensory information is processed in the amygdaloid complex, in particular in relation to emotional behaviors. In this chapter, we analyze the anatomical and functional organization of the chemosensory amygdala from this new perspective. Finally, the evolutionary changes of the chemosensory nuclei of the mammalian amygdala are discussed, paying special attention to the case of primates, including humans.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / anatomy & histology
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Olfactory Perception / physiology*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Pheromones / metabolism*


  • Pheromones