Interneurons in the basolateral amygdala

Neuropharmacology. 2011 Apr;60(5):765-73. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2010.11.006. Epub 2010 Nov 18.


The amygdala is a temporal lobe structure that is the center of emotion processing in the mammalian brain. Recent interest in the amygdala arises from its role in processing fear and the relationship of fear to human anxiety. The amygdaloid complex is divided into a number of subnuclei that have extensive intra and extra nuclear connections. In this review we discuss recent findings on the physiology and plasticity of inputs to interneurons in the basolateral amygdala, the primary input station. These interneurons are a heterogeneous group of cells that can be separated on immunohistochemical and electrophysiological grounds. Glutamatergic inputs to these interneurons form diverse types of excitatory synapses. This diversity is manifest in both the subunit composition of the underlying NMDA receptors as well as their ability to show plasticity. We discuss these differences and their relationship to fear learning. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Synaptic Plasticity & Interneurons'.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Axons / physiology
  • Fear / physiology
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / physiology
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*


  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate