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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2000 Apr;25(3):213-38.

1999 Curt P. Richter award. Glucocorticoids and the regulation of memory consolidation.

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Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory and Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, University of California, Irvine 92697-3800, USA.


This paper summarizes recent findings on the amygdala's role in mediating acute effects of glucocorticoids on memory consolidation in rats. Posttraining activation of glucocorticoid-sensitive pathways involving glucocorticoid receptors (GRs or type II) enhances memory consolidation in a dose-dependent inverted-U fashion. Selective lesions of the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA) or infusions of beta-adrenoceptor antagonists into the BLA block the memory-modulatory effects of systemic injections of glucocorticoids. Additionally, posttraining infusions of a specific GR agonist administered directly into the BLA enhance memory consolidation, whereas those of a GR antagonist impair. These findings indicate that glucocorticoid effects on memory consolidation are mediated, in part, by an activation of GRs in the BLA and that the effects require beta-adrenergic activity in the BLA. Other findings indicate that the BLA interacts with the hippocampus in mediating glucocorticoid-induced modulatory influences on memory consolidation. Lesions of the BLA or inactivation of beta-adrenoceptors within the BLA also block the memory-modulatory effects of intrahippocampal administration of a GR agonist or antagonist. These findings are in agreement with the general hypothesis that the BLA integrates hormonal and neuromodulatory influences on memory consolidation. However, the BLA is not a permanent locus of storage for this information, but modulates consolidation processes for explicit/associative memories in other brain regions, including the hippocampus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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