Lesions in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis disrupt corticosterone and freezing responses elicited by a contextual but not by a specific cue-conditioned fear stimulus

Sullivan , G. M., Apergis, J., Bush, D.E.A., Johnson, Luke R., Hou, M., & LeDoux, J. E. (2004) Lesions in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis disrupt corticosterone and freezing responses elicited by a contextual but not by a specific cue-conditioned fear stimulus. Neuroscience, 128(1), pp. 7-14.

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The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) is believed to be a critical relay between the central nucleus of the amygdala (CE) and the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus in the control of hypothalamic–pituitary– adrenal (HPA) responses elicited by conditioned fear stimuli. If correct, lesions of CE or BNST should block expression of HPA responses elicited by either a specific conditioned fear cue or a conditioned context. To test this, rats were subjected to cued (tone) or contextual classical fear conditioning. Two days later, electrolytic or sham lesions were placed in CE or BNST. After 5 days, the rats were tested for both behavioral (freezing) and neuroendocrine (corticosterone) responses to tone or contextual cues. CE lesions attenuated conditioned freezing and corticosterone responses to both tone and con- text. In contrast, BNST lesions attenuated these responses to contextual but not tone stimuli. These results suggest CE is indeed an essential output of the amygdala for the expres- sion of conditioned fear responses, including HPA re- sponses, regardless of the nature of the conditioned stimu- lus. However, because lesions of BNST only affected behav- ioral and endocrine responses to contextual stimuli, the results do not support the notion that BNST is critical for HPA responses elicited by conditioned fear stimuli in general. Instead, the BNST may be essential specifically for contex- tual conditioned fear responses, including both behavioral and HPA responses, by virtue of its connections with the hippocampus, a structure essential to contextual condition- ing. The results are also not consistent with the hypothesis that BNST is only involved in unconditioned aspects of fear and anxiety.

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ID Code: 67967
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Pavlovian, Amygdala, Bed nucleus of the stria ter- minalis, Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, Lesion, Glucocorticoids
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2004.06.015
ISSN: 0306-4522
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NEUROSCIENCES (110900)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Deposited On: 03 Mar 2014 00:39
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2014 00:39

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