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Neural Plasticity
Volume 9, Issue 4, Pages 261-272

Slow Late Component in Conditioned Stimulus-Evoked Potentials From the Amygdala After Fear Conditioning in the Rat

University of Nijmegen, Department of Biological Psychology, P.O. Box 9104, Nijmegen 6500 HE, The Netherlands

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Male Wistar rats were subjected to a differential Pavlovian fear conditioning procedure in which one of two tones (6 or 10 kHz) was followed by an electric shock (CS+) and the other was not (CS-). Before and after fear conditioning, we recorded the evoked potentials elicited by CS+ and CS- from electrodes aimed at the lateral nucleus of the amygdala. Before conditioning, a slow, negative component with peak amplitude around 150 ms was present in the evoked potentials. This component was sensitive to habituation. After fear conditioning, both CS+ and CS- elicited the same late component, albeit with a larger amplitude. This enhancement was temporary: decreasing amplitude was observed in the course of CS test presentations under extinction. Prior research revealed a comparable slow component in the amygdala of the cat under similar experimental conditions. The collective results indicate that the large late component in the amygdala is enhanced by fear conditioning, suggesting that such enhancement reflects the anticipation of a biologically significant event.