Emotional memory enhancement is a well-recognized and highly adaptive survival mechanism that helps us to remember important life events.
Both positive and negative emotionally arousing experiences are more likely to be recalled with greater detail and vividness than events that lack emotional significance. However, the same phenomenon is known to play an important role in the development of traumatic memories and anxiety disorders, including phobias and posttraumatic stress disorder. Our research is aimed at investigating the brain processes underlying the effects of emotional arousal on memory processes.
By using animal models of learning and memory, combined with an array of molecular and imaging techniques, we have shown that the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol enhance the formation and storage of new memory traces via interactions with endocannabinoid and noradrenergic mechanisms within the basolateral amygdala. In recent projects, we are investigating not only how these stress hormones modulate the strength of memory, but also have an impact on the quality, in terms of accuracy and generalization, of memory.
Such an activation of the basolateral amygdala during emotionally arousing experiences influences memory storage and recall processes by altering neural plasticity mechanisms in a wide memory network throughout the brain. We work closely together with clinical researchers to investigate how the findings of our animal studies can be used to increase understanding of traumatic memories in humans and might lead to new strategies for the prevention or treatment of memory- and anxiety disorders.
Department of Cognitive Neuroscience
|Postal address:||Department of Cognitive Neuroscience
Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre
P.O. Box 9101 / 205
6500 HB Nijmegen
- Barsegyan A, Mirone G, Ronzoni G, Guo C, Song Q, van Kuppeveld D, Schut EHS, Atsak P, Teurlings S, McGaugh JL, Schubert D, Roozendaal B (2019) Glucocorticoid enhancement of recognition memory via basolateral amygdala-driven facilitation of prelimbic cortex interactions. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 116(14):7077-7082.
- Chen Y, Barsegyan A, Nadif Kasri N, Roozendaal B (2018) Basolateral amygdala noradrenergic activity is required for enhancement of object recognition memory by histone deacetylase inhibition in the anterior insular cortex. Neuropharmacology 141:32-41.
- de Quervain DJF, Schwabe L, Roozendaal B (2017) Stress and glucocorticoid effects on memory: Implications for treating fear-related disorders. Nature Rev Neurosci 18(1):7-19.
- Atucha E, Vukojevic V, Fornari RV, Ronzoni G, Demougin P, Peter F, Atsak P, Coolen MW, Papassotiropoulos A, McGaugh JL, de Quervain DJ, Roozendaal B (2017) Noradrenergic activation of the basolateral amygdala maintains hippocampus-dependent accuracy of remote memory. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114(34):9176-9181.
- Roozendaal B, Hermans EJ (2017) Norepinephrine effects on the encoding and consolidation of emotional memory: Improving synergy between animal and human studies. Curr Opin Behav Sci 14:115-122.
EL update MAY 19
Plasticity and Memory
Prof. dr. B. Roozendaal
Lisa van Weert (external)
EL update MAY 2019