Stress and emotional memory: a matter of timing

Marian Joëls, Guillen Fernandez, Benno Roozendaal

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    237 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Stressful events activate the amygdala and a network of associated brain regions. Studies in both humans and rodents indicate that noradrenaline has a prominent role in this activation. Noradrenaline induces a hypervigilant state that helps to remember the event. This mnemonic effect is enhanced when the situation is so stressful that substantial amounts of corticosteroids are released and reach the amygdala. The combination of the two hormones leads to optimal strengthening of contacts and thus memory. Yet, rises in corticosteroid levels that are not precisely synchronized with noradrenaline release do not act synergistically but rather prevent or suppress the effect of noradrenaline. This dynamic interaction illustrates the adaptive and potentially protective capacity of corticosteroids regarding traumatic memories.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)280-288
    Number of pages9
    JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
    Volume15
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun-2011

    Keywords

    • GLUCOCORTICOID-RECEPTOR ACTIVATION
    • RAT BASOLATERAL AMYGDALA
    • MEDIAL PREFRONTAL CORTEX
    • NORADRENERGIC ACTIVATION
    • LONG-TERM
    • HORMONE CORTICOSTERONE
    • AVOIDANCE RETENTION
    • SYNAPTIC PLASTICITY
    • LOCUS-COERULEUS
    • ENHANCE MEMORY

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