NMDA-dependent facilitation of corticostriatal plasticity by the amygdala

Andrei T. Popescu, Aleksandr A. Saghyan, Denis Paré

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations


Emotions generally improve memory, and the basolateral amygdala (BLA) is believed to mediate this effect. After emotional arousal, BLA neurons increase their firing rate, facilitating memory consolidation in BLA targets. The enhancing effects of BLA activity extend to various types of memories, including motor learning, which is thought to involve activity-dependent plasticity at corticostriatal synapses. However, the underlying mechanisms are unknown. Here we show that the NMDA-to-AMPA (α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4- isoxazolepropionic acid) ratio is nearly twice as high at BLA as compared with cortical synapses onto principal striatal neurons and that activation of BLA inputs greatly facilitates long-term potentiation induction at corticostriatal synapses. This facilitation was NMDA-dependent, but it occurred even when BLA and cortical stimuli were 0.5 s apart during long-term potentiation induction. Overall, these results suggest that BLA activity opens long time windows during which the induction of corticostriatal plasticity is facilitated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-346
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Basolateral
  • Emotion
  • Memory
  • Synaptic plasticity

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