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Mol Brain. 2010 May 13;3:15. doi: 10.1186/1756-6606-3-15.

Emotional enhancement of memory: how norepinephrine enables synaptic plasticity.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 115 Mill Street, Belmont, Massachusetts 02478, USA. ktully@mclean.harvard.edu

Abstract

Changes in synaptic strength are believed to underlie learning and memory. We explore the idea that norepinephrine is an essential modulator of memory through its ability to regulate synaptic mechanisms. Emotional arousal leads to activation of the locus coeruleus with the subsequent release of norepineprine in the brain, resulting in the enhancement of memory. Norepinephrine activates both pre- and post-synaptic adrenergic receptors at central synapses with different functional outcomes, depending on the expression pattern of these receptors in specific neural circuitries underlying distinct behavioral processes. We review the evidence for noradrenergic modulation of synaptic plasticity with consideration of how this may contribute to the mechanisms of learning and memory.

PMID:
20465834
PMCID:
PMC2877027
DOI:
10.1186/1756-6606-3-15
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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