• Basolateral Amygdala Stimulation Evokes Feed-Forward Inhibition in the Medial Prefrontal Cortex

      Dilgen, Jonathan E.; O'Donnell, Patricio (2011)
      The amygdala sends a strong projection to the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and both brain regions are critical for high order cognitive processes. This pathway may convey emotional and incentive-value related information to the PFC where it could be used to guide behaviors such as decision making and working memory. Behavioral studies have shown that both the amygdala and PFC are important for emotional processing and learning, but the underlying neural correlates remain unclear. Anatomy studies show that the basolateral amygdala (BLA) sends an excitatory projection to the medial PFC (mPFC). Paradoxically, electrophysiologic evidence indicates that most mPFC neurons are inhibited by BLA stimulation. This apparent incongruence could be explained if mPFC interneurons are considered mediators of BLA to mPFC neurotransmission. In this thesis, I tested the hypothesis that the BLA-mPFC projection includes a feed-forward inhibition mechanism with several experiments using electrophysiological approaches.