Encoding of conditioned fear in central amygdala inhibitory circuits

Stephane Ciocchi, Cyril Herry, François Grenier, Steffen B. E. Wolff, Johannes J. Letzkus, Ioannis Vlachos, Ingrid Ehrlich, Rolf Sprengel, Karl Deisseroth, Michael B. Stadler, Christian Müller, Andreas Lüthi
Nature. 2010-11-11; 468(7321): 277-282
DOI: 10.1038/nature09559

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1. Nature. 2010 Nov 11;468(7321):277-82. doi: 10.1038/nature09559.

Encoding of conditioned fear in central amygdala inhibitory circuits.

Ciocchi S(1), Herry C, Grenier F, Wolff SB, Letzkus JJ, Vlachos I, Ehrlich I,
Sprengel R, Deisseroth K, Stadler MB, Müller C, Lüthi A.

Author information:
(1)Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Maulbeerstrasse 66, 4058
Basel, Switzerland.

Comment in
Nat Rev Neurosci. 2011 Jan;12(1):2.

The central amygdala (CEA), a nucleus predominantly composed of GABAergic
inhibitory neurons, is essential for fear conditioning. How the acquisition and
expression of conditioned fear are encoded within CEA inhibitory circuits is not
understood. Using in vivo electrophysiological, optogenetic and pharmacological
approaches in mice, we show that neuronal activity in the lateral subdivision of
the central amygdala (CEl) is required for fear acquisition, whereas conditioned
fear responses are driven by output neurons in the medial subdivision (CEm).
Functional circuit analysis revealed that inhibitory CEA microcircuits are highly
organized and that cell-type-specific plasticity of phasic and tonic activity in
the CEl to CEm pathway may gate fear expression and regulate fear generalization.
Our results define the functional architecture of CEA microcircuits and their
role in the acquisition and regulation of conditioned fear behaviour.

DOI: 10.1038/nature09559
PMID: 21068837 [Indexed for MEDLINE]


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