Amygdala and "emotional" modulation of the relative use of multiple memory systems.Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2004 Nov; 82(3):243-52.NL
The basolateral amygdala modulates the cognitive and habit memory processes mediated by the hippocampus and caudate nucleus, respectively. The present experiments used a plus-maze task that can be acquired using either hippocampus-dependent "place" learning or caudate-dependent "response" learning to examine whether peripheral or intra-basolateral amygdala injection of anxiogenic drugs would bias rats towards the use of a particular memory system. In Experiment 1, adult male Long-Evans rats were trained to swim from the same start point to an escape platform located in a consistent goal arm, and received pre-training peripheral injections of the alpha(2)-adrenoceptor antagonists yohimbine (2.5 or 5.0 mg/kg), RS 79948-197 (0.05, 0.1, or 0.2 mg/kg), or vehicle. On a drug-free probe trial from a novel start point administered 24h following acquisition, vehicle treated rats predominantly displayed hippocampus-dependent place learning, whereas rats previously treated with yohimbine (2.5, 5.0 mg/kg) or RS 79948-197 (0.1 mg/kg) predominantly displayed caudate-dependent response learning. In Experiment 2, rats receiving pre-training intra-basolateral amygdala infusions of RS 79948-197 (0.1 microg/0.5 microl) also predominantly displayed response learning on a drug-free probe trial. The findings indicate (1) peripheral injections of anxiogenic drugs can influence the relative use of multiple memory systems in a manner that favors caudate-dependent habit learning over hippocampus-dependent cognitive learning, and (2) intra-basolateral amygdala infusion of anxiogenic drugs is sufficient to produce this modulatory influence of emotional state on the use of multiple memory systems.