The amygdala is a heterogeneous structure crucial for fear responses. The function of the anterior part of the basal lateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLAa) in innate predatory and conditioned fear is unknown. This research will be done through an ethological model, in which behavioral reactions of fear to the predator will be categorized. The experiment starts with injury of the BLAa through bilateral iontophoretic deposits of NMDA. After a recovery period of seven days, the mice are acclimated to the experimental apparatus during 10 days. At 11th day a cat will be placed into the experimental apparatus within the food compartment and exposed to the rat for 10 minutes. The apparatus will be cleaned removing traces of cat smell. The next day the rat will be exposed to experimental apparatus without the cat, in order to be evaluate the responses to contextual fear. All tests will be videotaped for subsequent behavioral analysis of innate defense behaviors and contextual. Considering the different pattern of connection of the BLAa, compared to other amigdalar sites knowingly involved in anti-predatory responses, a possible involvement of the BLAa in these responses open new perspectives to broaden our understanding of the systems involved in anti-predatory responses.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: