Phencyclidine affects firing activity of basolateral amygdala neurons related to social behavior in rats.Neuroscience. 2009 Mar 03; 159(1):335-43.N
Negative symptoms of schizophrenia, such as social withdrawal and blunted affect, usually persist for a long period, making rehabilitation difficult. Many studies have demonstrated a close relationship between function of the amygdala and social behavior. Normal social behavior is disturbed in animals administered phencyclidine (PCP), which is now considered a reliable pharmacological model of schizophrenia. Recent studies have reported that disruption of social behavior in PCP-treated rats involved dysfunction of the amygdala. Disturbance of function of the amygdala has also been reported in schizophrenic patients. However, no study has yet examined the effects of PCP on the firing activity of amygdala neurons. In the present study, we recorded the unit activity of basolateral amygdala neurons while rats engaged in socially interactive behavior. After identifying the response properties of recorded neurons, we then recorded the same neurons with systemic PCP administration. Approximately half of the neurons recorded from exhibited an increase in spontaneous discharge rate during social interaction. Only a few neurons exhibited suppression of discharge rate during social interaction. Systemic administration of PCP induced long-lasting activation in half of the neurons that exhibited an increase in firing rate during social interaction. PCP activated half of basolateral amygdala neurons related to socially interactive behavior, and might in this fashion produce dysfunction of social behavior.