Pharmacological manipulation of memory reconsolidation: towards a novel treatment of pathogenic memories

Eur J Pharmacol. 2008 May 13;585(2-3):453-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2008.03.010. Epub 2008 Mar 18.


Well-consolidated memories, when retrieved, may return to a transiently fragile state, and need to be consolidated again in order to be maintained. This process has been referred to as memory reconsolidation and presumably serves to modify or strengthen memory traces. In recent years, our understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying this phenomenon has increased rapidly. Here, we will briefly review some of the pharmacological evidence, stressing a crucial role for the brain's major neurotransmitter systems, such as glutamate and noradrenaline, in memory reconsolidation. Pharmacological intervention of reconsolidation processes may have clinical relevance, especially for the treatment of psychiatric disorders that are characterized by pathological memories, including post-traumatic stress disorder and addictive behaviour.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / physiology
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Addictive / drug therapy
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators / physiology
  • Dopamine / physiology
  • Glucocorticoids / physiology
  • Glutamic Acid / physiology
  • Humans
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology*
  • Norepinephrine / physiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / drug therapy
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology


  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Acetylcholine
  • Dopamine
  • Norepinephrine