Recent evidence indicates that the amygdala plays a role in modulating memory processes in other brain regions. For example, posttraining intra-amygdala infusions of amphetamine enhanced memory in both spatial and cued training water maze tasks; these tasks are known to depend on the integrity of the hippocampus and caudate nucleus, respectively. To determine whether this modulation is dependent on noradrenergic activation within a subregion of the amygdala (the basolateral nucleus), the present study examined the effects of posttraining microinfusions (0.2 microl) of norepinephrine or propranolol into the basolateral amygdala immediately following training in a spatial version of the water maze task. Rats received a four-trial training session on each of 2 consecutive days. On the third day, rats were given a 60-s probe test in the absence of a platform. Retention latencies obtained on the second training day revealed that norepinephrine dose-dependently enhanced retention for the location of the hidden platform. In contrast, propranolol significantly impaired retention. Probe trial analysis revealed that rats treated with 0.25 microg norepinephrine demonstrated a selective spatial bias for the training platform location relative to all other groups. These findings are consistent with others and support the view that the basolateral amygdala has a role in modulating memory storage by interacting with other brain regions.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.