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The role of the amygdala in learnt fear

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Stathmin gene and Amygdala

Recent research works by Dr. Gleb Shumyatsky and Prof. Eric Kandel have led to the identification of the Stathmin gene. This gene is highly enriched in the amygdala and is believed to be involved in controlling both innate and learned fear in mice. They "knocked out" the stathmin gene in the amygdala using gene knockout technology and found that mice that lacked stathmin gene lacked any kind of fear. For instance, such mice did not freeze on sighting a cat.

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References & Bibliography

Key texts



  • Cahill, L., Vazdarjanova, A. and Setlow, B. (2000). The basolateral amygdala complex is involved with, but is not necessary for, rapid acquisition of Pavlovian "fear" conditioning , European Journal of Neuroscience 12, 3044-50.
  • Davis, M., (2000). The role of the amygdala in conditioned and unconditioned fear and anxiety , in Aggleton, J. P. (ed.), The Amygdala: A Functional Analysis, Oxford University Press, London.
  • Killcross, S., Robbins, T. W., and Everitt, B. J. (1997). Different types of fear-conditioned behaviour mediated by separate nuclei within amygdala , Nature 388, 377-80.
  • LeDoux, J., (2000). The amygdala and emotion: a view through fear , in Aggleton, J. P. (ed.), The Amygdala: A Functional Analysis, Oxford University Press, London.
  • Vazdarjanova, A. and McGaugh, J. L., (1998). Basolateral amygdala is not a critical locus for memory of contextual fear conditioning , Proceedings, National Academy of Sciences, USA 95, 15003-7.

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