Neonatal Amygdala Lesions: Co-Occurring Impact on Social/Fear-Related Behavior and Cocaine Sensitization in Adult Rats

R. Andrew Chambers, Tammy J. Sajdyk, Susan K. Conroy, Joan E. Lafuze, Stephanie D. Fitz, Anantha Shekhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Neurodevelopmental abnormalities of temporal-limbic structures may underlie both adult psychiatric syndromes and increased addiction vulnerability, leading to high frequencies of "dual diagnosis" disorders. Although the amygdala is implicated in various mental disorders and drug addiction, no studies have explored the impact of early developmental damage to the amygdala on phenotypes relating to mental illness and addictions as co-occurring processes. We tested rats with neonatal amygdala lesions (NAML) vs. SHAM-operated controls in a battery of tests-novel field activity, elevated plus maze (EPM), and social interaction (SI) at baseline and after odor and restraint stress-followed by measures of cocaine sensitization (15 mg/kg vs. saline × 5 days + challenge session 2 weeks later) and remeasurement of SI. NAMLs showed increased novelty-related locomotion, less fear responding in the EPM, and resistance to predator-odor- but not to restraint-induced suppression of SI. NAMLs also had elevated cocaine sensitization profiles, and cocaine history differentially affected subsequent SI in NAMLs compared with SHAMs. NAMLs may provide models for understanding a shared neurobiological basis for and complex interactions among psychiatric symptoms, drug exposure history, and addiction vulnerability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1316-1327
Number of pages12
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007



  • amygdala
  • cocaine
  • dual diagnosis
  • neurodevelopment
  • social interaction.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this