Stress, memory and amygdala

Department of Neuroscience, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, the Netherlands.
Nature Reviews Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 31.38). 07/2009; 10(6):423-33. DOI: 10.1038/nrn2651
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Emotionally significant experiences tend to be well remembered, and the amygdala has a pivotal role in this process. But the efficient encoding of emotional memories can become maladaptive - severe stress often turns them into a source of chronic anxiety. Here, we review studies that have identified neural correlates of stress-induced modulation of amygdala structure and function - from cellular mechanisms to their behavioural consequences. The unique features of stress-induced plasticity in the amygdala, in association with changes in other brain regions, could have long-term consequences for cognitive performance and pathological anxiety exhibited in people with affective disorders.

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Available from: Benno Roozendaal, Aug 24, 2015
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    • "In particular, consisting with our hypothesis, this assessment confirm the influence of visual stimulation towards movies with emotive contents on anxiety and memory performance. This data are coherent with an ample research to suggest that emotional arousal and the physiological responses that can accompany it (e.g., increase in glucocorticoids, epinephrine, and norepinephrine) facilitate encoding and memory consolidation processes by the release of hormones in the brainstem and baso-lateral amygdala (Roozendaal et al., 2009). Hippocampal connections with the amygdala are thought to mediate this memory enhancement (Roozendaal et al., 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: Literacy: Many studies have been showing that anxious individuals display attention biases including preferential engagement, difficulty in disengagement, or attention avoidance. Research in patients suggests that pathological anxiety may specifically impair spatial short-term and long-term episodic memory. Recently, many authors have emphasized the role of aversive stimulation on attention, working memory and anxiety. Purpose: The present study investigated the influence of anxiety on memory and attention, to contribute to our understanding of the anxiety effects on cognitive function. Methods: 130 students were included in this study (57 male and 73 female). Procedure: Each subject completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). After this measure, only 41 participants with the highest (n=21) and the lowest (n=20) levels of anxiety complete the Trail Making Test A-B, Attentive Matrices Test, Babcock Story Recall Test and Short-Term Visual Memory Test. Results: Less anxious participants showed best memory capacity and less attention biases than more anxious participants.
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    • "Stress exerts powerful effects on learning and memory, and understanding these effects may lend insight into cognitive symptoms associated with stress-related psychological disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depression. Researchers have frequently dichotomized stress-memory interactions into the effects of stress on consolidation versus the effects of stress on retrieval, as these two phases of memory processing seem to be differentially influenced by stress (Roozendaal, McEwen, & Chattarji, 2009). Indeed, most research has reported that stress enhances consolidation and impairs retrieval, despite similar mechanisms, such as corticosteroid and noradrenergic interactions in the amygdala, underlying both (Beckner, Tucker, Delville, & Mohr, 2006; Cahill, Gorski, & Le, 2003; Felmingham, Tran, Fong, & Bryant, 2012; Nielson, Yee, & Erickson, 2005; Preuss & Wolf, 2009; Roozendaal, 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: Most work has shown that post-learning stress enhances long-term memory; however, there have been recent inconsistencies in this literature. The purpose of the present study was to examine further the effects of post-learning stress on long-term memory and to explore any sex differences that may exist. Male and female participants learned a list of 42 words that varied in emotional valence and arousal level. Following encoding, participants completed a free recall assessment and then submerged their hand into a bath of ice cold (stress) or lukewarm (no stress) water for 3min. The next day, participants were given free recall and recognition tests. Stressed participants recalled more words than non-stressed participants 24h after learning. Stress also enhanced female participants' recall of arousing words when they were in the follicular, but not luteal, phase. These findings replicate previous work examining post-learning stress effects on memory and implicate the involvement of sex-related hormones in such effects. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Acta psychologica 07/2015; 160:127-133. DOI:10.1016/j.actpsy.2015.07.008 · 2.19 Impact Factor
    • "The role of the basolateral group has been described extensively in the literature, assigning it a crucial role in promoting emotional memory formation (Roozendaal et al., 2009), as well as in fear conditioning (LeDoux, 2000). In addition, it has been shown that stress hormones are important modulators within the basolateral amygdala in creating memory traces for emotionally salient events (McGaugh, 2004; Roozendaal et al., 2009). As such, exposure to severe stress could lead to enhanced fear conditioning and traumatic memory formation, which lies at the heart of the symptomatology of PTSD. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hippocampus and amygdala volumes in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to childhood trauma are relatively understudied, albeit the potential importance to the disorder. Whereas some studies reported smaller hippocampal volumes, little evidence was found for abnormal amygdala volumes. Here we investigated hippocampus and amygdala volumes and shapes in an adult sample of PTSD patients related to childhood trauma. T1-weighted MR images were acquired from 12 female PTSD patients with trauma related to physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse before age 18, and from 12 matched controls. Hippocampus and amygdala were segmented, and volumes were calculated and corrected for the total intracranial volume. Additionally, a shape analysis was done on the surface of the structures to explore abnormalities in specific subnuclei. Smaller right amygdala volumes were found in PTSD patients as compared with the controls. This difference appeared to be located specifically in the basolateral and superficial nuclei groups. Severity of sexual abuse during childhood was negatively correlated with the size of the amygdala. No difference in hippocampal volumes was found. Although our results are not conclusive, traumatic events in childhood might impede normal development of the amygdala, which could render a person more vulnerable to develop PTSD later in life. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    07/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.pscychresns.2015.07.016
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