TitleMechanisms of amygdala facilitated cortico-striatal plasticity
NamePopescu, Andrei Tiberiu (author), Tepper, James (chair), Krekelberg, Bart (internal member), Nadim, Farzan (internal member), Lovinger, David (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - Newark,
DescriptionThe amygdala is known to mediate the enhancing effects of emotional arousal on learning and memory. The increased firing rate of neurons in the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA) is believed to facilitate memory storage in various target structures, such as the striatum. Changes in the efficacy of cortical inputs to the striatum are thought to underlie motor learning and habit formation, making this pathway a perfect model to test the effects of BLA activity on synaptic plasticity and learning. My thesis provides evidence that BLA synapses have an N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor – to α-amino-5-hydroxy-3-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid receptor ratio higher than that of cortical synapses onto the same striatal neurons (Chapter 3). This property allows BLA inputs to facilitate the induction of heterosynaptic long term potentiation in vitro (Chapters 4 and 5). I also show that temporal coupling of BLA and striatal neurons in vivo occurs during coherent bursts of gamma activity observed in the local field potentials. Changes in the coherence of BLA-striatal gamma paralleled learning of a striatal-dependent task (Chapter 6). Together, these findings point towards a new mechanism of amygdala-facilitated learning.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 111-123)
Noteby Andrei Tiberiu Popescu
CollectionGraduate School - Newark Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.