In the lateral amygdala (LA), training-induced increases in neuronal responsiveness to conditioned stimuli (CSs) reflect potentiated sensory responses that drive conditioned behaviours (CRs) via LA's targets. The basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BL) receives LA inputs and projects to various subcortical sites that can drive aversive and appetitive CRs. Consistent with this, BL neurons also develop increased responses to CSs that predict rewarding or aversive outcomes. This increased BL activity is thought to reflect the potentiated sensory responses of LA neurons. Here we contrast the CS-related activity of BL neurons when rats produced the expected CR or not, to show that cells activated by appetitive CSs mainly encode behavioural output, not CS identity. The strong dependence of BL activity on behaviour irrespective of CS identity suggests that feedforward connectivity from LA to BL can be overridden by other BL inputs.
Lee, S. C., Amir, A., Headley, D. B., Haufler, D., & Pare, D. (2016). Basolateral amygdala nucleus responses to appetitive conditioned stimuli correlate with variations in conditioned behaviour. Nature Communications, 7. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms12275