The role of the amygdala and dorsal raphe nucleus in mediating the behavioral consequences of inescapable shock

Behav Neurosci. 1993 Apr;107(2):377-88. doi: 10.1037//0735-7044.107.2.377.


It has been argued that exposure to inescapable shock produces later behavioral changes such as poor shuttle box escape learning because it leads to the conditioning of intense fear, which later transfers to the shuttle box test situation and interferes with escape. Both fear, as assessed by freezing, and escape were measured in Sprague-Dawley rats 24 hr after exposure to inescapable shock. Lesions of the basolateral region and central nucleus of the amygdala eliminated the fear that transfers to the shuttle box after inescapable shock, as well as the fear conditioned in the shuttle box by the shuttle box shocks. However, the amygdala lesions did not reduce the escape learning deficit produced by inescapable shock. In contrast, dorsal raphe nucleus lesions did not reduce the fear that transfers to the shuttle box after inescapable shock, but eliminated the enhanced fear conditioning in the shuttle box as well as the escape deficit. The implications of these results for the role of fear and anxiety in mediating inescapable shock effects are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Electroshock
  • Escape Reaction / physiology*
  • Fear / physiology
  • Helplessness, Learned*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Raphe Nuclei / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley