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Neuron. 2006 Feb 16;49(4):631-8.

Task and content modulate amygdala-hippocampal connectivity in emotional retrieval.

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Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, Institute of Neurology, University College London, London WC1N 6BT, United Kingdom.


The ability to remember emotional events is crucial for adapting to biologically and socially significant situations. Little is known, however, about the nature of the neural interactions supporting the integration of mnemonic and emotional information. Using fMRI and dynamic models of effective connectivity, we examined regional neural activity and specific interactions between brain regions during a contextual memory retrieval task. We independently manipulated emotional context and relevance of retrieved emotional information to task demands. We show that retrieval of emotionally valenced contextual information is associated with enhanced connectivity from hippocampus to amygdala, structures crucially involved with encoding of emotional events. When retrieval of emotional information is relevant to current behavior, amygdala-hippocampal connectivity increases bidirectionally, under modulatory influences from orbitofrontal cortex, a region implicated in representation of affective value and behavioral guidance. Our findings demonstrate that both memory content and behavioral context impact upon large scale neuronal dynamics underlying emotional retrieval.

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