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Cognitive Neuroscience Society USA
10 -12 April 2005; New York , NY


Neuromodulation of hippocampal memory formation

Chairs: Emrah Düzel and Julietta U. Frey


Julietta Uta Frey , Leibniz-Institute for Neurobiology, Department of Neurophysiology, Brenneckestrasse 6, D-39118 Magdeburg, Germany, email: frey@ifn-magdeburg.de

James L. McGaugh , Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory and Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, University of California , Irvine , Irvine CA 92697–3800 , USA , email: jlmcgaug@uci.edu

John E. Lisman , Volen Center for Complex Systems, Department of Biology, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts MA 02454, USA, email: lisman@brandeis.edu

Emrah Düzel , Department of Neurologie II, Otto-von-Guericke University of Magdeburg , Leipziger Str. 44, D-39120 Magdeburg, Germany, email: emrah.duezel@medizin.uni-magdeburg.de

Summary: Physiological evidence is currently accumulating that long-term memory formation in the hippocampus can be modulated by contextual factors such as the novelty of an environment, emotional arousal, reward and stress. Data from animal research suggests that such influences are partly mediated through heterosynaptic monaminergic inputs that modulate synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus. Compelling evidence for such a modulation of hippocampal memory formation exists for the neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenaline. Recent findings of human brain imaging studies suggest that the activity of monaminergic midbrain neural populations can be studied in humans indirectly via their large scale neural signature. The results from these studies are consistent with those of animal studies in suggesting that activation of dopaminergic midbrain regions influence consolidation via dopaminergic mechanisms.

In this symposium we will try to combine data obtained in animal research - including electrophysiological, pharmacological and behavioral approaches - with models of hippocampal learning and neuroimaging studies in humans to provide an integrative perspective on the role of neuromodulatory transmitter systems in memory formation. Dr. Julietta U. Frey will show how the transformation of early long-term potentiation (LTP) into late-LTP can be reinforced via ß-adrenergic and dopaminergic mechanisms, for instance in association with attention to a novel environment. Dr. James L. McGaugh will outline how animal and human studies provide evidence that the amygdala is critically involved in the acquisition and retention of lasting memories of emotional experiences via ß-adrenergic mechanisms. Dr. John E. Lisman will integrate data from animal studies and studies in humans into a model of how dopaminergic input could modulate memory formation for novel events in the hippocampus. Finally, Dr. Emrah Düzel will show human neuroimaging data about activity of the hippocampus and the mesolimbic midbrain associated with novelty, reward and the formation of explicit memories.

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