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Trends Neurosci. 1997 Nov;20(11):517-23.

Organization of intra-amygdaloid circuitries in the rat: an emerging framework for understanding functions of the amygdala.

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A.I. Virtanen Institute University of Kuopio, Finland.

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  • Trends Neurosci 1998 Feb;21(2):52.


The amygdala is located in the medial aspects of the temporal lobe. In spite of the fact that the amygdala has been implicated in a variety of functions, ranging from attention to memory to emotion, it has not attracted neuroscientists to the same extent as its laminated neighbours, in particular the hippocampus and surrounding cortex. However, recently, principles of information processing within the amygdala, particularly in the rat, have begun to emerge from anatomical, physiological and behavioral studies. These findings suggest that after the stimulus enters the amygdala, the highly organized intra-amygdaloid circuitries provide a pathway by which the representation of a stimulus becomes distributed in parallel to various amygdaloid nuclei. As a consequence, the stimulus representation may become modulated by different functional systems, such as those mediating memories from past experience or knowledge about ongoing homeostatic states. The amygdaloid output nuclei, especially the central nucleus, receive convergent information from several other amygdaloid regions and generate behavioral responses that presumably reflect the sum of neuronal activity produced by different amygdaloid nuclei.

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