Long-term potentiation in the amygdala: a mechanism for emotional learning and memory

Trends Neurosci. 1999 Dec;22(12):561-7. doi: 10.1016/s0166-2236(99)01465-4.


In the mammalian brain, LTP is an enduring form of synaptic plasticity that is posited to have a role in learning and memory. Compelling new evidence for this view derives from studies of LTP in the amygdala, a brain structure that is essential for simple forms of emotional learning and memory, such as Pavlovian fear conditioning in rats. More specifically, antagonists of the NMDA receptor block both amygdaloid LTP induction and fear conditioning, fear conditioning induces increases in amygdaloid synaptic transmission that resemble LTP, and genetic modifications that disrupt amygdaloid LTP eliminate fear conditioning. Collectively, these results provide the most-convincing evidence to date that LTP mediates learning and memory in mammals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Psychological / physiology
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Fear / physiology
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology*
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Receptors, Glutamate / physiology


  • Receptors, Glutamate