Fearful-place coding in the amygdala-hippocampal network

Mi Seon Kong, Eun Joo Kim, Sanggeon Park, Larry S. Zweifel, Yeowool Huh, Jeiwon Cho, Jeansok J. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Animals seeking survival needs must be able to assess different locations of threats in their habitat. However, the neural integration of spatial and risk information essential for guiding goal-directed behavior remains poorly understood. Thus, we investigated simultaneous activities of fear-responsive basal amygdala (BA) and place-responsive dorsal hippocampus (dHPC) neurons as rats left the safe nest to search for food in an exposed space and encountered a simulated ‘predator.’ In this realistic situation, BA cells increased their firing rates and dHPC place cells decreased their spatial stability near the threat. Importantly, only those dHPC cells synchronized with the predator-responsive BA cells remapped significantly as a function of escalating risk location. Moreover, optogenetic stimulation of BA neurons was sufficient to cause spatial avoidance behavior and disrupt place fields. These results suggest a dynamic interaction of BA’s fear signalling cells and dHPC’s spatial coding cells as animals traverse safe-danger areas of their environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere72040
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

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  • Decision making
  • Fear
  • Place cells
  • Predator
  • Simultaneous recording
  • Spike synchrony


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