Emotions generally facilitate memory, an effect mediated by the basolateral amygdala (BLA). To study the underlying mechanisms, we recorded BLA, perirhinal and entorhinal neurons during an appetitive trace-conditioning task. We focused on the rhinal cortices because they constitute the interface between the hippocampus, a mediator of memory consolidation, and the neocortex, the storage site of declarative memories. We found that, after unexpected rewards, BLA activity increased impulse transmission from perirhinal to entorhinal neurons and that this effect decayed as the association between conditioned stimuli and rewards was learned. At this late phase of learning, the BLA effect occurred when the animals were anticipating the reward. By enhancing the processing of sensory cues, the BLA-mediated facilitation of rhinal interactions may explain how the amygdala promotes memory formation in emotional conditions.
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Thanks are due to members of the Paré lab for comments on an earlier version of this paper. This work was supported by RO1 grants MH-073610 and MH-066856 from the US National Institutes of Health to D.P. R.P. was supported by a Fulbright postdoctoral fellowship.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Crosscorrelations between activity of BLA and rhinal neurons. (PDF 490 kb)
Location of significant bins in STJHs. (PDF 342 kb)
BLA-related effect is not observed in rostrocaudal axis. (PDF 247 kb)
Conditional probabilities of entorhinal firing. (PDF 323 kb)
Firing rate of rhinal neurons during trace-condoning. (PDF 420 kb)
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Paz, R., Pelletier, J., Bauer, E. et al. Emotional enhancement of memory via amygdala-driven facilitation of rhinal interactions. Nat Neurosci 9, 1321–1329 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/nn1771
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