The basolateral amygdala has a critical role in food-matched visual-cue memory and post-ingestion food preferences in rats

Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran

2 Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran.

3 Laboratory of Molecular Neuroscience, Kerman Neuroscience Research Center (KNRC), Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.

4 Department of Orofacial Pain and Dysfunction, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA), University of Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


The Basolateral Amygdala (BLA) has been shown to have an important role in food-related learning behaviors. Using a novel approach, we have evaluated the role of BLA in food preference and Food memory related to visual cues in rats. Thirty-two adult male Wistar rats, weighing 200–250 g, were used for the experiments. Electric lesion of BLA was produced by passing 1.5 mA of current for 7 s. Food-related behaviors and preferences were evaluated by using an automated apparatus. Geometric visual cues were also constructed. Food-deprived rats were presented with different diets in 6 consecutive trial performances. The number of visits, time consumed on each food zone and port, distance traveled in each visit, and the total amount of food eaten was evaluated. The changes in hippocampal c-Fos expression were determined by immunoblotting. The control sham group showed a high and low preference for biscuit and white flour, respectively. BLA lesion rats exhibited a shifted preference curve. In the sham group, a more significant amount of food consumption was associated with an increased number of references to each zone and port, along with more time spent there. Furthermore, a decrease in hippocampal c-Fos expression was observed in the BLA- lesion animals. Taken together, the basolateral amygdala has a significant role in rats’ food-matched visual-cue memory and high-calorie/sweetness preferences.


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