Effects of expectation on amygdala-kindled convulsions and interictal behaviour in rats: confirmation of a Pavlovian mechanism

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We found evidence that the effects of exposure to the stimulation environment on the convulsions and interictal behaviour of basolateral amygdala (BA)-kindled rats are the result of Pavlovian conditioning. In Experiment 1, the rats first received 45 BA stimuli in one environment (CS+) and 45 sham stimuli in another environment (CS–). During this first phase of the experiment, the CS+ and CS– began to exert differential effects on interictal behaviour and convulsions. Then, during the second phase, rats received 45 stimuli and 45 sham stimuli, either as before in their original CS+ and CS– (nonreversal rats) or with their original CS+ and CS– interchanged (reversal rats). During the second phase, the CS+ and CS– continued to exert the same pattern of differential effects on the interictal behaviour and convulsions of the nonreversal rats, whereas the reversal rats began to display the reverse pattern. In Experiment 2, rats received 60 sham stimuli in one environment (CS1). Then, half of the rats received 30 stimuli in a second environment (CS2) and 30 sham stimuli in CS1 (no-pre-exposure rats), whereas the other half (pre-exposure rats) received 30 stimuli and 30 sham stimuli in CS1. Pre-exposure to the stimulation environment attenuated the kindled convulsions. These findings confirm that the conditioned effects of kindling are mediated by a Pavlovian mechanism.

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