Differential Effects of Stress on Hippocampal and Amygdaloid LTP: Insight into the neurobiology of traumatic memories

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Book Chapter

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This chapter begins with a brief discussion of the complexity of the long-term potentiation (LTP)-memory debate. We suggest that the notion of LTP as a unitary “memory encoding device” is too simplistic to survive rigorous experimentation and debate. However, while there are difficulties in making the direct connection between LTP and memory, we have not abandoned the proposition that LTP studies can enhance our understanding of the physiology of memory. The primary focus of this chapter is to incorporate studies on LTP, memory, and stress into a synthesis on the dynamics of emotional memory storage in the hippocampus and amygdala. The work is based on the idea that the induction or blockade of LTP can serve as a “diagnostic” measure of how stress affects information processing by different brain structures. The synthesis provides a novel perspective on why the characteristics of nonemotional memories differ from the pathologically intense, and fragmented, characteristics of traumatic memories.

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Differential effects of stress on hippocampal and amygdaloid LTP: Insight into the neurobiology of traumatic memories, in C Hölscher (Ed.), Neuronal Mechanisms Of Memory Formation: Concepts of Long-Term Potentiation and Beyond, Cambridge University Press, p. 379 – 404.