Destruction of neurons in the VPM thalamus prevents rabbit heart rate conditioning

Philip M. McCabe, Matthew D. McEchron, Edward J. Green, Neil Schneiderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The present study examined the role of the ventral posterior medial nucleus of the thalamus (VPM) in classical heart rate (HR) conditioning using an acoustic conditioned stimulus (CS) and a corneal air puff unconditioned stimulus (US). Previous research suggests that VPM neurons are activated during the presentation of a corneal air puff US. Rabbits were given ibotenic acid lesions in the VPM and subjected to one Pavlovian HR conditioning session. The results of the present study demonstrate that destruction of cell bodies in the VPM reduces HR conditioning to the level of a pseudoconditioning control without affecting HR baseline, or orienting responses to the CS. Lesions of the VPM also significantly augment the tachycardiac unconditioned response, suggesting that VPM lesions alter the somatosensory processing of the US.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-163
Number of pages5
JournalPhysiology AND Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1995


  • Heart rate conditioning
  • Rabbit
  • Somatosensory thalamus
  • Unconditioned stimulus
  • Ventral posterior medial nucleus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)


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