Amygdala modulation of memory consolidation: interaction with other brain systems

Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2002 Nov;78(3):539-52. doi: 10.1006/nlme.2002.4082.


There is a strong consensus that the amygdala is involved in mediating influences of emotional arousal and stress on learning and memory. There is extensive evidence that the basolateral amygdala (BLA) is a critical locus of integration of neuromodulatory influences regulating the consolidation of several forms of memory. Many drug and stress hormone influences converge in activating the release of norepinephrine (NE) within the BLA. Evidence from studies using in vivo microdialysis and high-performance liquid chromatography indicates that increases in amygdala NE levels assessed following inhibitory avoidance training correlate highly with subsequent retention. Other evidence indicates that NE influences on memory consolidation require muscarinic cholinergic activation within the BLA provided by projections from the nucleus basalis magnocellularis (NB). Evidence from several experiments indicates that activation of the BLA plays an essential role in modulating memory consolidation processes involving other brain regions. These findings provide strong support for the hypothesis that the BLA plays a critical role in regulating the consolidation of lasting memories of significant experiences.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / anatomy & histology*
  • Amygdala / metabolism
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Basal Nucleus of Meynert / metabolism
  • Cholinergic Fibers / drug effects
  • Cholinergic Fibers / metabolism
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Muscarinic Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Norepinephrine / metabolism
  • Oxotremorine / pharmacology
  • Physostigmine / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / drug effects
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / metabolism


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Muscarinic Antagonists
  • Receptors, Muscarinic
  • Oxotremorine
  • Physostigmine
  • Norepinephrine