Social buffering is a phenomenon where stress responses are ameliorated by an affiliative conspecific. Our previous findings suggest that the posterior complex of the anterior olfactory nucleus (AOP) is well positioned to participate in the neural mechanisms underlying social buffering. However, the lack of anatomical information prevents us from further estimating the role of the AOP. Here, we obtained anatomical information regarding the AOP in male rats. In Experiment 1 (n = 5), among 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole-positive cells in the AOP, the proportion of glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 (GAD67)-positive cells was 13.8% ± 1.2%. In Experiment 2 (n = 5), among the cells that were labeled by a retrograde tracer injected into the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA), the proportion of GAD67-positive cells was 18.6% ± 0.8%. In Experiment 3 (n = 5), we demonstrated the existence of cells that were labeled by the retrograde tracer injected into the posterior part of the medial amygdala (MeP), mostly into the ventral part of the MeP. In addition, the proportion of GAD67-positive cells among the tracer-labeled cells was 21.7% ± 1.7%. In Experiment 4 (n = 3), the retrograde tracers were injected into the BLA and MeP, mostly into the ventral part of the MeP. The proportion of double-labeled cells among the tracer-labeled cells was 2.1% ± 1.2%. Taken together, these results suggest that the AOP is predominantly composed of glutamatergic neurons. In addition, the AOP sends mutually independent glutamatergic-predominant projections to the BLA and MeP.
Keywords: conditioned fear; freezing; social buffering; social similarity; strain recognition.
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