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Behav Brain Res. 2004 Aug 12;153(1):87-95.

Peripheral arousal-related hormones modulate norepinephrine release in the hippocampus via influences on brainstem nuclei.

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Department of Psychology, The University of Virginia, P.O. Box 400400, 102 Gilmer Hall, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4400, USA.


The peripheral hormone epinephrine (EPI) is known to modulate memory for arousing experiences. The mnemonic effects of EPI are attributed almost exclusively to actions on amygdala noradrenergic (NE) systems. EPI also increases neuronal activity in the locus coeruleus (LC), the primary source of NE to other limbic structures that process memory such as the hippocampus (HIPP). The actions of EPI on the LC suggest that its mnemonic properties may also be mediated by influencing NE output in the HIPP. To test this hypothesis, dialysate levels of NE were collected from the HIPP of male rats given an i.p. injection of saline that was followed 100 min later by i.p. EPI (0.3 mg/kg). NE levels sampled 20 min after EPI injection were significantly larger than baseline and continued to show significant peaks for 60 min. Experiment 2 examined whether peripheral signals initiated by EPI influence the HIPP via the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) by inactivating this nucleus with lidocaine prior to EPI injection. EPI injection did not increase NE levels sampled from the HIPP of rats given lidocaine into the NTS. EPI injection did produce significant elevations in HIPP NE levels in animals given a control solution into the NTS prior to the EPI injection. These findings indicate that the mnemonic effects of EPI reported in a wide range of learning conditions may not be mediated solely by NE release in the amygdala, but may also involve coactivation of the HIPP NE system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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