Neuronal synchrony in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) is critical for emotional behavior. Coordinated theta-frequency oscillations between the BLA and the hippocampus and precisely timed integration of salient sensory stimuli in the BLA are involved in fear conditioning. We characterized GABAergic interneuron types of the BLA and determined their contribution to shaping these network activities. Using in vivo recordings in rats combined with the anatomical identification of neurons, we found that the firing of BLA interneurons associated with network activities was cell type specific. The firing of calbindin-positive interneurons targeting dendrites was precisely theta-modulated, but other cell types were heterogeneously modulated, including parvalbumin-positive basket cells. Salient sensory stimuli selectively triggered axo-axonic cells firing and inhibited firing of a disctinct projecting interneuron type. Thus, GABA is released onto BLA principal neurons in a time-, domain-, and sensory-specific manner. These specific synaptic actions likely cooperate to promote amygdalo-hippocampal synchrony involved in emotional memory formation.
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