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Memory reconsolidation mediates the strengthening of memories by additional learning

Abstract

Memories are dynamic, rather than static, in nature. The reactivation of a memory through re-exposure to salient training stimuli results in its destabilization, necessitating a restabilization process known as reconsolidation, a disruption of which leads to amnesia. I found that one normal function of hippocampal memory reconsolidation in rats is to modify the strength of a contextual-fear memory as a result of further learning.

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Figure 1: The cellular mechanisms of memory consolidation and strengthening differ.
Figure 2: Memory strengthening requires destabilization and reconsolidation.

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Acknowledgements

I'd like to thank B.J. Everitt and D. Belin for helpful discussions, as well as Y. Pelloux and M. Wood for practical cooperation. This work was supported by a grant from the Royal Society and was conducted in the MRC/Wellcome Trust Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge (UK).

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Correspondence to Jonathan L C Lee.

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Lee, J. Memory reconsolidation mediates the strengthening of memories by additional learning. Nat Neurosci 11, 1264–1266 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2205

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