ERIC Number: EJ1027227
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Learning Enhances Intrinsic Excitability in a Subset of Lateral Amygdala Neurons
Sehgal, Megha; Ehlers, Vanessa L.; Moyer, James R., Jr.
Learning & Memory, v21 n3 p161-170 Mar 2014
Learning-induced modulation of neuronal intrinsic excitability is a metaplasticity mechanism that can impact the acquisition of new memories. Although the amygdala is important for emotional learning and other behaviors, including fear and anxiety, whether learning alters intrinsic excitability within the amygdala has received very little attention. Fear conditioning was combined with intracellular recordings to investigate the effects of learning on the intrinsic excitability of lateral amygdala (LA) neurons. To assess time-dependent changes, brain slices were prepared either immediately or 24-h post-conditioning. Fear conditioning significantly enhanced excitability of LA neurons, as evidenced by both decreased after hyperpolarization (AHP) and increased neuronal firing. These changes were time-dependent such that reduced AHPs were evident at both time points whereas increased neuronal firing was only observed at the later (24-h) time point. Moreover, these changes occurred within a subset (32%) of LA neurons. Previous work also demonstrated that learning-related changes in synaptic plasticity are also evident in less than one-third of amygdala neurons, suggesting that the neurons undergoing intrinsic plasticity may be critical for fear memory. These data may be clinically relevant as enhanced LA excitability following fear learning could influence future amygdala-dependent behaviors.
Descriptors: Learning Processes, Neurological Organization, Brain Hemisphere Functions, Fear, Conditioning, Animals, Cognitive Psychology, Memory
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A