Neuroendocrine responses to an emotional or arousing experience modulate memory for the event. Extensive evidence suggests that epinephrine plays an important role in the regulation of memory formation by emotions and arousal. Some forms of synaptic plasticity are similarly responsive to modulation by stress and arousal. The present experiment examined the effects of epinephrine on induction and maintenance of long-term potentiation (LTP) in awake rats. Rats were prepared with bilaterally implanted electrodes for recording evoked field potentials in dentate granule cells following perforant pathway stimulation. LTP was induced with high-frequency stimulation parameters that resulted in modest early potentiation of the EPSP that decayed within 20 min. Epinephrine enhanced the magnitude of early LTP induction and also extended the durability of LTP from minutes to at least several days. Epinephrine did not alter baseline responses or modulate pre-LTP input-output curves. The enhancement of LTP by epinephrine was dose-dependent, following an inverted-U dose-response curve similar to that seen in memory enhancement experiments, suggesting considerable convergence of epinephrine modulation of memory and LTP. In extending substantially the maintenance of LTP after induction, the present finding offer potential means to study the neurobiology of rapid forgetting seen in aged rodents and other animals and the neurobiology of the impaired forgetting seen in post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Neural plasticity
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience