Destruction of intrinsic neurons in the lateral hypothalamus disrupts the classical conditioning of autonomic but not behavioral emotional responses in the rat

Jiro Iwata, J. E. LeDoux, D. J. Reis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The present study examined whether destruction of intrinsic neurons in the lateral hypothalamus of the rat would disrupt the acquisition of classically conditioned changes in arterial pressure. Ibotenic acid, a cellular toxin which spares axons of passage, was injected bilaterally in the hypothalamus either medial or lateral to the fornix. After 2 weeks the animals were subjected to classical fear conditioning trials involving the presentation of a tone in association with footshock. The next day changes in arterial pressure and emotional behavior elicited by the tone alone were measured. Destruction of intrinsic neurons in the lateral hypothalamus prevented the normal establishment of the arterial pressure conditioned response but did not affect the behavioral response. Unconditioned arterial pressure responses elicited by the tone and shock were not affected. Medial hypothalamic injections had no effect on any of the responses. The location of the lateral hypothalamic cell loss overlapped with the neurons projecting to the autonomic region of the spinal cord. Intrinsic neurons in the lateral hypothalamus therefore appear to be specifically involved in mediating learned cardiovascular adjustments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-166
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 12 1986



  • autonomic nervous system
  • classical conditioning
  • emotion
  • ibotonic acid
  • lateral hypothalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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