Although the basolateral amygdala (BLA) is known to play a critical role in the formation of memories of both positive and negative valence, the coding and routing of valence-related information is poorly understood. Here, we recorded BLA neurons during the retrieval of associative memories and used optogenetic-mediated phototagging to identify populations of neurons that synapse in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), the central amygdala (CeA), or ventral hippocampus (vHPC). We found that despite heterogeneous neural responses within each population, the proportions of BLA-NAc neurons excited by reward predictive cues and of BLA-CeA neurons excited by aversion predictive cues were higher than within the entire BLA. Although the BLA-vHPC projection is known to drive behaviors of innate negative valence, these neurons did not preferentially code for learned negative valence. Together, these findings suggest that valence encoding in the BLA is at least partially mediated via divergent activity of anatomically defined neural populations.
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