Document Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2014

Capstone Advisor

Donna Korol, Associate Professor of Biology

Honors Reader

Cathryn Newton, Dean Emerita and Professor of Earth Sciences

Capstone Major

Biology

Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component

no

Capstone Prize Winner

no

Won Capstone Funding

no

Honors Categories

Sciences and Engineering

Subject Categories

Biology | Neuroscience and Neurobiology

Abstract

The formation and storage of memories within the brain remains a subject that is not well understood. The hippocampus has been identified by many studies as a likely center for memory formation (Lynch, 2004), and further research into this subject has begun to suggest that synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus could be partly responsible for the physical changes in the brain, which underlie memory formation. Long Term Potentiation is a form of synaptic plasticity, and is considered to be a physical increase in the strength of connection between neurons or groups of neurons. Much like memories, the duration of a given LTP can last anywhere from minutes to years, depending upon the conditions under which the LTP was induced. Stress, in particular, has been found to either enhance or impair LTP formation, under different conditions. The brain’s response to stress, or any kind of emotional arousal, is in part mediated by the release of the hormone epinephrine. This type of “stress memory”, or epinephrine-mediated memory formation, is important because it could explain the pathological memory formation that is commonly seen in phenomena such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Korol and Gold, 2008). Epinephrine release in the periphery has been seen to influence LTP in the hippocampus, however epinephrine itself cannot enter the brain. These experiments served to explore the mechanisms by which epinephrine can act to bidirectionally influence hippocampal LTP through activation of β-adrenergic receptors.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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