Stressful experiences are known to either improve or impair hippocampal-dependent memory tasks and synaptic plasticity. These positive and negative effects of stress on the hippocampus have been largely documented, however little is known about the mechanism involved in the twofold influence of stress on hippocampal functioning and about what factors define an enhancing or inhibitory outcome. We have recently demonstrated that activation of the basolateral amygdala can produce a biphasic effect, enhancement or inhibition, of hippocampal synaptic plasticity, depending on the timing of activation (priming or spaced activation). A key question is under which conditions do the effects of amygdala activation on hippocampus dependent memory functions change from improvement to impairment of learning and memory. In this chapter we suggest that hippocampal outcome of amygdala activation may be critically dependent on four main factors: (1) The intensity of amygdala activation, (2) the temporal relation between the activation of the amygdala and the hippocampus dependent memory function, (3) the duration of amygdala activation, and (4) the contextual input during the processing of the information.
|Number of pages||16|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 2006|
- PSYCHOLOGICAL stress
- HIPPOCAMPUS (Brain)
- AMYGDALOID body