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J Neurophysiol. 2005 Sep;94(3):1837-48.

Interaction between amygdala and neocortical inputs in the perirhinal cortex.

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Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 197 University Ave., Newark, New Jersey 07102, USA.


The rhinal cortices play a critical role in high-order perceptual/mnemonic functions and constitute the main route for impulse traffic to and from the hippocampus. However, previous work has revealed that neocortical stimuli that activate a large proportion of perirhinal neurons are unable to discharge entorhinal cells. In search of mechanisms that might facilitate impulse transfer from the neocortex to the entorhinal cortex, we have examined changes in excitability produced by activation of the lateral amygdala (LA) in isoflurane-anesthetized animals. LA stimulation activated a large proportion of peri- and entorhinal neurons. However, conditioning LA stimuli did not increase the ability of neocortical inputs to activate entorhinal cells even though such pairing produced marked increases in neocortically evoked field potentials and orthodromic firing in the perirhinal cortex. Moreover, increased neocortically evoked perirhinal field potentials and unit responses persisted when the conditioning LA shock was replaced by another neocortical stimulus at the same or at a different site as the testing shock. This perirhinal paired-pulse facilitation (PPF) was maximal with interstimulus intervals of approximately 100 ms. Intracellular recordings of perirhinal neurons revealed that the PPF was generally associated with a rapid shift in the balance between inhibition and excitation, leading to an overall increase in perirhinal responsiveness. The significance of these findings for the role of the perirhinal cortex is discussed.

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