Antagonistic negative and positive neurons of the basolateral amygdala

Nat Neurosci. 2016 Dec;19(12):1636-1646. doi: 10.1038/nn.4414. Epub 2016 Oct 17.


The basolateral amygdala (BLA) is a site of convergence of negative and positive stimuli and is critical for emotional behaviors and associations. However, the neural substrate for negative and positive behaviors and relationship between negative and positive representations in the basolateral amygdala are unknown. Here we identify two genetically distinct, spatially segregated populations of excitatory neurons in the mouse BLA that participate in valence-specific behaviors and are connected through mutual inhibition. These results identify a genetically defined neural circuit for the antagonistic control of emotional behaviors and memories.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Basolateral Nuclear Complex / physiology*
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Mice
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*