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Memories become stabilized through a time-dependent process that requires gene expression and is commonly known as consolidation. During this time, memories are labile and can be disrupted by a number of interfering events, including electroconvulsive shock, trauma and other learning or the transient effect of drugs such as protein synthesis inhibitors. Once consolidated, memories are insensitive to these disruptions. However, they can again become fragile if recalled or reactivated. Reactivation creates another time-dependent process, known as reconsolidation, during which the memory is restabilized. Here we discuss some of the questions currently debated in the field of memory consolidation and reconsolidation, the molecular and anatomical requirements for both processes and, finally, their functional relationship.
`Memory is ...neither perception or conception, but a state or affection of one of these, conditioned by lapse of time. As already observed, there is no such thing as memory of the present while present, for the present is object only of perception and the future of expectation, but the object of memory is the past’
ARISTOTLE, 350 BC
Keywords.Memory consolidation reconsolidation molecular mechanisms CREB C/EBP protein synthesis hippocampus amygdala
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