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Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2013 Oct;105:159-73. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2013.06.017. Epub 2013 Jul 2.

Role of amygdala in drug memory.

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National Institute on Drug Dependence, Peking University, Beijing 100191, China.


Drug addiction is a chronic brain disorder with the hallmark of a high rate of relapse to compulsive drug seeking and drug taking even after long-term abstinence. Addiction has been considered as an aberrant memory that has been termed "addiction memory." Drug-related memory plays a critical role in the maintenance of learned addictive behaviors and emergence of relapse. Disrupting these long-lasting memories by administering amnestic agents or other manipulations during specific phases of drug memory is a promising strategy for relapse prevention. Recent studies on the processes of drug addiction and relapse have demonstrated that the amygdala is involved in associative drug addiction learning processes. In this review, we focus on preclinical studies that used conditioned place preference and self-administration models to investigate the differential roles of the amygdala in each phase of drug-related memory, including acquisition, consolidation, retrieval, reconsolidation, and extinction. These studies indicate that the amygdala plays a critical role in both cue-associative learning and the expression of cue-induced relapse to drug-seeking behavior.


Addiction; Amygdala; Drug memory; Relapse

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