Basolateral amygdala inactivation impairs learning-induced long-term potentiation in the cerebellar cortex.

Abstract

Learning to fear dangerous situations requires the participation of basolateral amygdala (BLA). In the present study, we provide evidence that BLA is necessary for the synaptic strengthening occurring during memory formation in the cerebellum in rats. In the cerebellar vermis the parallel fibers (PF) to Purkinje cell (PC) synapse is potentiated one day following fear learning. Pretraining BLA inactivation impaired such a learning-induced long-term potentiation (LTP). Similarly, cerebellar LTP is affected when BLA is blocked shortly, but not 6 h, after training. The latter result shows that the effects of BLA inactivation on cerebellar plasticity, when present, are specifically related to memory processes and not due to an interference with sensory or motor functions. These data indicate that fear memory induces cerebellar LTP provided that a heterosynaptic input coming from BLA sets the proper local conditions. Therefore, in the cerebellum, learning-induced plasticity is a heterosynaptic phenomenon that requires inputs from other regions. Studies employing the electrically-induced LTP in order to clarify the cellular mechanisms of memory should therefore take into account the inputs arriving from other brain sites, considering them as integrative units. Based on previous and the present findings, we proposed that BLA enables learning-related plasticity to be formed in the cerebellum in order to respond appropriately to new stimuli or situations.

Description

Keywords

amygdala, cerebellum, fear memory, fear conditioning, whole cell patch clamp recording, Purkinje cell

Citation

Zhu, L. et al. (2011) Basolateral amygdala inactivation impairs learning-induced long-term potentiation in the cerebellar cortex. PloS one, 6 (1), pp. e16673.

Rights

Research Institute

Leicester Institute for Pharmaceutical Innovation - From Molecules to Practice (LIPI)