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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2005;29(8):1243-53. Epub 2005 Aug 9.

Lesions of structures showing FOS expression to cat presentation: effects on responsivity to a Cat, Cat odor, and nonpredator threat.

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  • 1Pacific Biomedical Research Center, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA. blanchar@hawaii.edu

Abstract

Exposure of rats to a cat elicits Fos activity in a number of brain areas or structures. Based on hodological relationships of these, Canteras has proposed a medial hypothalamic defense system, with input from several forebrain sites. Both electrolytic and neurotoxic lesions of the dorsal premammillary nucleus, which shows the strongest Fos response to cat exposure, produce striking decrements in a number of defensive behaviors to a cat or to cat odor stimuli, but do not have a major effect on either postshock freezing, or responsivity to the odor of a female in estrus. Neurotoxic lesions of the medial amygdala produce decrements in defensiveness to predator stimuli, particularly odor stimuli, that are consistent with a view of this structure as involved with allomonal cues. While dorsal hippocampal lesions had little effect on responsivity to predator stimuli, neurotoxic lesions of the ventral hippocampus reduced freezing and enhanced a variety of nondefensive behaviors to both cat odor and footshock, with similar reductions in defensiveness during context conditioning tests for cat odor, cat exposure and footshock. These results support the view that the dorsal premammillary nucleus is strongly and selectively involved in control of responsivity to predator stimuli. Structures with important input into the medial hypothalamic defense system appear also to be functionally involved with antipredator defensive behaviors, and these lesion studies may suggest specific hypotheses as to the particular defense functions of different areas.

PMID:
16084591
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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