Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Amygdala

LeDoux, J. (October 2007). The amygdala, Current Biology, Vol. 17, R868-R874.

This is a fantastic overview of a very important brain structure by one of the world's leading experts on the subject. The article covers the amygdala's anatomic organization (its different nuclei), its connectivity (both inputs and outputs), its cellular mechanisms (neurotransmission and neuromodulation), its role in emotional processing, and its implication in a variety of human disorders. The article even covers neuronal processes related to classical conditioning (i.e. fear memory consolidation and reconsolidation), such as changes in synaptic strength (upregulation of post-synaptic receptors by LTP), structural changes in synaptic connectivity (post-synaptic cytoskeletal alterations, presumably dendritic and microtubule changes), and pre-synaptic feedback mechanisms (release of nitric oxide as a messenger).

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