Marco Capogna and Sadegh Nabavi publish a paper in the prestigious journal Neuron edited by Cell Press, 17 May 2017
The title of the paper is: “Synaptic plasticity and network oscillations in amygdala circuits for storage and retrieval of emotional memories”.
In this article, Marco Bocchio, Sadegh Nabavi and Marco Capogna critically discuss how emotional learning and memories are formed in the mammalian brain. Three key events are debated. First, synaptic plasticity that is long lasting functional changes in the brain that occur when we learn new things or memorize new information. Second, network oscillations: they are a series of rhythmic electrical waves generated by the synchronous activity of several (hundreds) nerve cells. Their occurrence in certain areas of the brain (such as the hippocampus and the amygdala) signals that learning and memory has taken place. Third, so-called engrams, namely subsets of nerve cells that are activated during learning and reactivated during memory recall of the learning experience. The paper provides novel insights into the relationships among these three events that occur in the brain. Specifically, it is proposed that learning and memory are stored and retrieved via changes of synaptic weights in oscillatory neuronal circuits. Furthermore, the concept that synaptic plasticity underlies the formation and the disruption of engrams is presented. This paper provides novel ideas in an already hotly debated field and should attract a broad audience of neuroscientists.