Cardiovascular responses elicited by electrical stimulation of the amygdala central nucleus in the rabbit

Brain Res. 1982 Feb 25;234(2):251-62. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(82)90866-6.


Recent behavioral and anatomical evidence suggests the involvement of the amygdala central nucleus projection to medullary cardioregulatory nuclei in the expression of conditioned bradycardia during aversive Pavlovian conditioning in the rabbit 6,7,11,15. The present study sought to determine the extent to which electrical stimulation of the central nucleus produces bradycardia in the rabbit, and the extent to which any bradycardia elicited varies with stimulation at sites within as opposed to adjacent to the medial component of the central nucleus, the component from which the projection to cardioregulatory nuclei originates. Over 900 sites in 30 rabbits anesthetized with alpha-chloralose were explored. Monopolar stimulation (30-100 Hz; 0.5 ms pulse duration; 5.0 s train duration; 100-500 microamperemeter) at sites within the central nucleus produced bradycardia and depressor responses. Maximum bradycardia was produced from sites within the anterior, medial component of the nucleus. This response usually began within one second of stimulus onset, reached peak magnitude within two seconds of stimulus onset and in many instances was followed by a slight tachycardia following stimulus termination. The accompanying depressor responses occurred at longer latencies than the bradycardia responses. The responses persisted following artificial ventilation and immobilization by Flaxedil and were attenuated by i.v. injections of atropine methylnitrate. While bradycardia and depressor responses were elicited from sites immediately dorsal, ventral and lateral to the medial central nucleus, component. The results are consistent with previous evidence which suggests a contribution for the central nucleus in the expression of cardiovascular responding during aversive Pavlovian conditioning in the rabbit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Heart Rate*
  • Medulla Oblongata / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Rabbits
  • Vagus Nerve / physiology