Stimulation at a Site of Auditory-Somatosensory Convergence in the Medial Geniculate Nucleus Is an Effective Unconditioned Stimulus for Fear Conditioning

Academic Article


  • The medial division of the medial geniculate nucleus (MGm) and the posterior intralaminar nucleus (PIN) are necessary for fear conditioning to an auditory conditioned stimulus (CS), receive both auditory and somatosensory input, and project to the amygdala, which is involved in production of fear conditioned responses. If CS-unconditioned stimulus (US) convergence in the MGm-PIN is critical for fear conditioning, then microstimulation of this area should serve as an effective US during classical conditioning, in place of standard footshock. Guinea pigs underwent conditioning (40-60 trials) using a tone as the CS and medial geniculate complex microstimulation as the US. Conditioned bradycardia developed when the US electrodes were in the PIN. However, microstimulation was not an effective US for conditioning in other parts of the medial geniculate or for sensitization training in the PIN or elsewhere. Learning curves were similar to those found previously for footshock US. Thus, the PIN can be a locus of functional CS-US convergence for fear conditioning to acoustic stimuli.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cruikshank SJ; Edeline JM; Weinberger NM
  • Start Page

  • 471
  • End Page

  • 483
  • Volume

  • 106
  • Issue

  • 3