The Journal of Physiological Sciences

, Volume 68, Issue 3, pp 233–242 | Cite as

Bidirectional cardiovascular responses evoked by microstimulation of the amygdala in rats

  • Ko Yamanaka
  • Miwa Takagishi
  • Jimmy Kim
  • Sabine S. Gouraud
  • Hidefumi Waki
Original Paper


Although the amygdala is known as a negative emotion center for coordinating defensive behaviors, its functions in autonomic control remain unclear. To resolve this issue, we examined effects on cardiovascular responses induced by stimulation and lesions of the amygdala in anesthetized and free-moving rats. Electrical microstimulation of the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) induced a gradual increase in arterial pressure (AP) and heart rate (HR), whereas stimulation of adjacent nuclei evoked a phasic AP decrease. The gain of the baroreceptor reflex was not altered by CeA stimulation, suggesting that CeA activity increases both AP and HR by resetting baroreceptor reflex function. Disinhibition of GABAergic input by amygdalar microinjection of the GABAA receptor antagonist induced robust increases in AP and HR. Furthermore, bilateral electrolytic lesions of CeA evoked consistent AP increases over the light/dark cycle. These results suggest that the amygdala exerts ‘bidirectional’ autonomic control over the cardiovascular system.


Amygdala Arterial pressure Baroreceptor reflex Heart rate Lesion 



This study was supported by MEXT-Supported Program for the Strategic Research Foundation at Private Universities, 2014–2018, and Private University Research Branding Project.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

No conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise, are declared by the authors.


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Copyright information

© The Physiological Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ko Yamanaka
    • 1
  • Miwa Takagishi
    • 2
  • Jimmy Kim
    • 1
  • Sabine S. Gouraud
    • 3
  • Hidefumi Waki
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology, Graduate School of Health and Sports ScienceJuntendo UniversityInzaiJapan
  2. 2.Department of Therapeutic Health PromotionKansai University of Health SciencesSennanJapan
  3. 3.Department of BiologyFaculty of Science, Ochanomizu UniversityBunkyoJapan

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