Interactions between the amygdala and the hippocampal memory system are thought to be important for the memory enhancement that can result from moderate emotional arousal and for the memory dysfunction that can result from extreme emotional arousal, such as what occurs in post-traumatic stress disorder. Direct activation of the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA) in rats can enhance memory for both emotional and neutral events, suggesting that amygdala-hippocampal interactions wield a generalized memory- enhancing capacity. Thus, understanding how direct BLA activation impacts the hippocampal memory system will be fundamental to understanding basic mechanisms of endogenous memory enhancement and will be relevant to memory dysfunction in affective disorders. Over the five-year period, the proposed experiments are expected to contribute to the training of one postdoctoral fellow, two doctoral students, and five undergraduate students.
The objective of the proposal is to understand how the functional connectivity between the amygdala and the hippocampal memory system is used to prioritize memories. The project is relevant to disorders of memory and to disorders involving affect, including post-traumatic stress disorder.
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