Defensive conditioning-related functional heterogeneity among nuclei of the rat amygdala revealed by c-Fos mapping

A. Savonenko, R. K. Filipkowski, T. Werka, K. Zielinski, L. Kaczmarek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


The amygdala is a complex forebrain structure proposed to play a pivotal role in fear conditioning circuitry. In this study, c-Fos immunomapping was applied to investigate the functional activation of particular amygdalar nuclei following a 50-trial training session of two-way active avoidance reaction. To dissect distinctive responses displayed by the animals and to cluster them into groups of correlated behaviors, factor analysis was employed. The training procedure resulted in an increase of c-Fos expression within the cortical, medial, lateral and basolateral, but not central, nuclei. The expression in the cortical nucleus correlated negatively with grooming behavior, whereas c-Fos immunolabeling of the other three subdivisions of the amygdala could be associated with the number of intertrial responses. No correlation was observed between c-Fos expression and avoidance reactions performed or the amount of shock received by the animal. The results obtained with c-Fos mapping of various regions of rat amygdala, combined with a fine dissection of behavioral repertoire, imply that there are specific functional links between particular parts of the structure and distinctive behaviors that reflect various emotional states of the animal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-733
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Emotional memory
  • Fear
  • Grooming
  • Instrumental conditioning
  • Time discrimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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