Both pre- and posttraining excitotoxic lesions of the basolateral amygdala abolish the expression of olfactory and contextual fear conditioning

Behav Neurosci. 1998 Oct;112(5):1092-103. doi: 10.1037//0735-7044.112.5.1092.


The present study examined whether the basolateral amygdaloid complex (BLA) participates in the expression of fear conditioned to both an olfactory conditioned stimulus (CS) and the training context. In Experiment 1, pretraining excitotoxic lesions of the BLA abolished immediate postshock freezing, conditioned freezing to an olfactory CS, and conditioned freezing to the training context. Control experiments indicated that lesioned and sham-lesioned subjects did not differ in locomotor activity or in acquisition of a successive-cue odor discrimination task, suggesting that deficits in freezing behavior exhibited by BLA subjects were not due to an impairment in primary aspects of olfaction or to a general enhancement of locomotor activity. In Experiment 2, excitotoxic lesions of the BLA produced either 1 day or 15 days after olfactory fear conditioning abolished both odor-elicited and contextual freezing. Collectively, these data support the notion that the BLA participates in an enduring manner in the expression of conditioned freezing behavior elicited by both olfactory and contextual stimuli.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Amygdala / surgery
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology*
  • Cues
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Fear
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Male
  • Odorants
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology*
  • Practice, Psychological
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley