Role of the primate amygdala in fear-potentiated startle: Effects of chronic lesions in the rhesus monkey

Elena A. Antoniadis, James T. Winslow, Michael Davis, David G Amaral

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations


In experiment 1, we assessed the role of the primate amygdala and hippocampus in the acquisition of learned fear measured with fear-potentiated startle. Three groups of six rhesus monkeys were prepared with bilateral ibotenic acid lesions of the amygdaloid complex and the hippocampus or were sham operated. Selective ibotenic acid lesions of the amygdala, but not the hippocampus, blocked the acquisition of fear-potentiated startle. In experiment 2,weassessed the role of the primate amygdala in the expression of fear-potentiated startle. Surprisingly, animals that sustained amygdala damage after they successfully learned fear-potentiated startle expressed normal fear-potentiated startle, despite a complete amygdala lesion based on magnetic resonance imaging assessments. These results suggest that although the amygdala is necessary for the initial acquisition of fear-potentiated startle, it is not necessary for the retention and expression of fear-potentiated startle. These findings are discussed in relation to the role of the amygdala in emotional learningandin cross-species comparisons of emotional behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7386-7396
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 11 2007



  • Amygdala
  • Emotional learning
  • Fear conditioning
  • Fear-potentiated startle
  • Learning and memory
  • Primate
  • Rhesus monkey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this