The effects of stimulation of substantia innominata and sensory receiving areas of the forebrain upon the activity of neurons within the amygdala of the anesthetized cat

Philip A. Femano, Henry M. Edinger, Allan Siegel

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8 Scopus citations


The present study investigated the response characteristics of individual neurons in the amygdala following stimulation of the substantia innominata (SI), and compared these responses with those elicited by stimulation of insular and temporal polar cortices and the lateral olfactory tract (LOT). Recordings were made from single units within the medial, central, basal, and lateral amygdaloid nuclei of anesthetized, male cats. Stimulating electrodes were located in the SI, LOT, and sylvian cortex (SG). Unit responses were classified as either excitation or inhibition. Excitatory responses were further divided into fixed latency excitation (FLE) and variable latency excitation (VLE) based on the variability of the onset latency of the response. The majority of responses to SI stimulation were of the FLE type, implying a direct orthodromic, monosynaptic activation of amygdaloid units. Proportionally more FLE responses were recorded laterally, especially in the magnocellular basal nucleus, compared to VLE responses which were common in the medial and central nuclei. SI stimulation consistently affected the activity of many more units than did SG or LOT stimulation. The onset latencies of the population of cells exhibiting excitatory responses elicited by SI stimulation were distributed bimodally, and this may reflect a dual projection pathway of amygdaloid afferents from this basal forebrain region. This correlates with anatomical descriptions indicating that SI projections to amygdala pass via the ventral amygdalofugal pathway as well as in the stria terminalis. Excitatory onset latencies of responses to SI stimulation were the shortest in the lateral and magnocellular basal nuclei and the longest in the parvocellular basal nucleus. Amygdaloid units exhibited convergent input from the stimulus sites. A clear topographical distribution of units was not demonstrated. The data suggests that units receiving a convergent input were rarely driven monosynaptically by more than one stimulus site. The basal nucleus contained the smallest fraction of units exhibiting a convergent input. A small population of antidromic responses was recorded and indicates that within the system studied the caudal aspect of the basal nucleus is a major source of amygdaloid efferents. Antidromically driven units did not exhibit transynaptic responses following stimulation of any of the test sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-132
Number of pages14
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 13 1983

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


  • amygdala
  • cat
  • lateral olfactory tract
  • single-unit analysis
  • stria terminalis
  • substantia innominata
  • temporal cortex


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