Memory consolidation involves the process by which newly acquired information becomes stored in a long-lasting fashion. Evidence acquired over the past several decades, especially from studies using post-training drug administration, indicates that emotional arousal during the consolidation period influences and enhances the strength of the memory and that multiple different chemical signaling systems participate in this process. The mechanisms underlying the emotional influences on memory involve the release of stress hormones and activation of the basolateral amygdala, which work together to modulate memory consolidation. Moreover, work suggests that this amygdala-based memory modulation occurs with numerous types of learning and involves interactions with many different brain regions to alter consolidation. Additionally, studies suggest that emotional arousal and amygdala activity in particular influence synaptic plasticity and associated proteins in downstream brain regions. This review considers the historical understanding for memory modulation and cellular consolidation processes and examines several research areas currently using this foundational knowledge to develop therapeutic treatments.
- Received November 2, 2016.
- Accepted March 3, 2017.
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health [Grants MH104384 (to R.T.L. and C.K.M.), DA034684 (to R.T.L.), DA037216 (to R.T.L.), MH105014 (to C.K.M.), and MH099655 (to C.K.M.)].
- Copyright © 2017 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics