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Nat Neurosci. 2006 Oct;9(10):1321-9. Epub 2006 Sep 10.

Emotional enhancement of memory via amygdala-driven facilitation of rhinal interactions.

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Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 197 University Avenue, Newark, New Jersey 07102, USA.


Emotions generally facilitate memory, an effect mediated by the basolateral amygdala (BLA). To study the underlying mechanisms, we recorded BLA, perirhinal and entorhinal neurons during an appetitive trace-conditioning task. We focused on the rhinal cortices because they constitute the interface between the hippocampus, a mediator of memory consolidation, and the neocortex, the storage site of declarative memories. We found that, after unexpected rewards, BLA activity increased impulse transmission from perirhinal to entorhinal neurons and that this effect decayed as the association between conditioned stimuli and rewards was learned. At this late phase of learning, the BLA effect occurred when the animals were anticipating the reward. By enhancing the processing of sensory cues, the BLA-mediated facilitation of rhinal interactions may explain how the amygdala promotes memory formation in emotional conditions.

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