Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Commun. 2016 Nov 29;7:13375. doi: 10.1038/ncomms13375.

Memory consolidation reconfigures neural pathways involved in the suppression of emotional memories.

Author information

State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning &IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China.
Institute of Affective and Social Neuroscience &College of Psychology and Sociology, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China.
Shenzhen Institute of Neuroscience, Shenzhen 518057, China.
War Related Illness and Injury Study Center, US Department of Veterans Affairs, Palo Alto, California 94304, USA.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94304, USA.


The ability to suppress unwanted emotional memories is crucial for human mental health. Through consolidation over time, emotional memories often become resistant to change. However, how consolidation impacts the effectiveness of emotional memory suppression is still unknown. Using event-related fMRI while concurrently recording skin conductance, we investigated the neurobiological processes underlying the suppression of aversive memories before and after overnight consolidation. Here we report that consolidated aversive memories retain their emotional reactivity and become more resistant to suppression. Suppression of consolidated memories involves higher prefrontal engagement, and less concomitant hippocampal and amygdala disengagement. In parallel, we show a shift away from hippocampal-dependent representational patterns to distributed neocortical representational patterns in the suppression of aversive memories after consolidation. These findings demonstrate rapid changes in emotional memory organization with overnight consolidation, and suggest possible neurobiological bases underlying the resistance to suppression of emotional memories in affective disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center