A neuronal topography of visual and acoustic fear conditioning within the amygdala

Bergstrom, Hadley C., Dey, Smita, Sharova, Anna V., & Johnson, Luke R. (2012) A neuronal topography of visual and acoustic fear conditioning within the amygdala. In 2012 Neuroscience Meeting Planner, 12 - 17 October 2012, New Orleans, Louisiana.

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The lateral amygdala (LA) receives information from auditory and visual sensory modalities, and uses this information to encode lasting memories that predict threat. One unresolved question about the amygdala is how multiple memories, derived from different sensory modalities, are organized at the level of neuronal ensembles. We previously showed that fear conditioning using an auditory conditioned stimulus (CS) was spatially allocated to a stable topography of neurons within the dorsolateral amygdala (LAd) (Bergstrom et al, 2011). Here, we asked how fear conditioning using a visual CS is topographically organized within the amygdala. To induce a lasting fear memory trace we paired either an auditory (2 khz, 55 dB, 20 s) or visual (1 Hz, 0.5 s on/0.5 s off, 35 lux, 20 s) CS with a mild foot shock unconditioned stimulus (0.6 mA, 0.5 s). To detect learning-induced plasticity in amygdala neurons, we used immunohistochemistry with an antibody for phosphorylated mitogen-activated protein kinase (pMAPK). Using a principal components analysis-based approach to extract and visualize spatial patterns, we uncovered two unique spatial patterns of activated neurons in the LA that were associated with auditory and visual fear conditioning. The first spatial pattern was specific to auditory cued fear conditioning and consisted of activated neurons topographically organized throughout the LAd and ventrolateral nuclei (LAvl) of the LA. The second spatial pattern overlapped for auditory and visual fear conditioning and was comprised of activated neurons located mainly within the LAvl. Overall, the density of pMAPK labeled cells throughout the LA was greatest in the auditory CS group, even though freezing in response to the visual and auditory CS was equivalent. There were no differences detected in the number of pMAPK activated neurons within the basal amygdala nuclei. Together, these results provide the first basic knowledge about the organizational structure of two different fear engrams within the amygdala and suggest they are dissociable at the level of neuronal ensembles within the LA

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ID Code: 81777
Item Type: Conference Item (Poster)
Refereed: No
Keywords: fear conditioning, amygdala, mapping
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: 20 Feb 2015 05:15
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2015 05:31

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