Role of the central nucleus of the amygdala in olfactory heart rate conditioning.Behav Neurosci. 1989 Jun; 103(3):519-25.BN
The role of the central nucleus of the amygdala on olfactory heart rate conditioning in the infant rat was investigated. The conditioned stimulus consisted of a 10-s presentation of grape juice odor that was immediately followed by a 0.5-s, 0.35-mA subcutaneous shock. A sensitization control group was also run. Three days prior to testing, Ss received either bilateral electrolytic lesions of the central nucleus of the amygdala, sham lesions, or were left unperturbed. Results show that damage to the central nucleus of the amygdala severely impaired olfactory heart rate conditioning but that it had no deleterious effect on the heart rate orienting response to that stimulus or on the heart rate unconditioned response to shock. Results are analogous to those in previous research on auditory heart rate conditioning and suggest that the central nucleus of the amygdala may constitute a necessary stage in the transduction of a conditioned stimulus into a cardiac conditioned response regardless of sensory modality.