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Front Integr Neurosci. 2012 Dec 18;6:116. doi: 10.3389/fnint.2012.00116. eCollection 2012.

Making memories matter.

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1
Department of Biology, Syracuse University Syracuse, NY, USA.

Abstract

This article reviews some of the neuroendocrine bases by which emotional events regulate brain mechanisms of learning and memory. In laboratory rodents, there is extensive evidence that epinephrine influences memory processing through an inverted-U relationship, at which moderate levels enhance and high levels impair memory. These effects are, in large part, mediated by increases in blood glucose levels subsequent to epinephrine release, which then provide support for the brain processes engaged by learning and memory. These brain processes include augmentation of neurotransmitter release and of energy metabolism, the latter apparently including a key role for astrocytic glycogen. In addition to up- and down-regulation of learning and memory in general, physiological concomitants of emotion and arousal can also switch the neural system that controls learning at a particular time, at once improving some attributes of learning and impairing others in a manner that results in a change in the strategy used to solve a problem.

KEYWORDS:

arousal; emotion; epinephrine; glucose; learning strategy; memory

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