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Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2000 Jun;21(6):481-93.

Role of amygdala norepinephrine in mediating stress hormone regulation of memory storage.

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


There is extensive evidence indicating that the noradrenergic system of the amygdala, particularly the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA), is involved in memory consolidation. This article reviews the central hypothesis that stress hormones released during emotionally arousing experiences activate noradrenergic mechanisms in the BLA, resulting in enhanced memory for those events. Findings from experiments using rats have shown that the memory-modulatory effects of the adrenocortical stress hormones epinephrine and glucocorticoids involve activation of beta-adrenoceptors in the BLA. In addition, both behavioral and microdialysis studies have shown that the noradrenergic system of the BLA also mediates the influences of other neuromodulatory systems such as opioid peptidergic and GABAergic systems on memory storage. Other findings indicate that this stress hormone-induced activation of noradrenergic mechanisms in the BLA regulates memory storage in other brain regions.

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