The amygdala directly mediates aspects of emotional learning and facilitates memory operations in other regions, including the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex (Figure 1). For example, neural plasticity in the amygdala was associated with encoding of the emotional component
of memories,40 with different mediating aspects of reward learning, and with facilitating memory operations in other limbic regions involving hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.41,42 Within this neurocircuitry, the medial prefrontal cortex appears to exhibit inhibitory control over emotion- and reward-processing Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical regions to prevent spontaneous and inappropriate emotional responses. This concept was confirmed by functional neuroimaging studies showing inverse activity levels Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical in the medial prefrontal cortex and the amygdala.43-46 Thus, it is not a single brain region, but rather the interaction of various interconnected structures, that enables emotional control. Figure 1. Top: The cortico (green)-limbic
(orange, red) emotion system consists of several brain regions that include amygdala, hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, anterior cingulate, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. It is involved in emotion, memory, emotional … Functional and structural connectivity in cortico-limbic-striatal circuits To test the functional relevance of interconnected limbic system structures, Cohen et al35 combined measures of DTI-based fiber tracking Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)-based connectivity in healthy subjects. Their results yielded two dissociable Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical amygdalacentered brain networks: (i) an amygdala-lateral orbitofrontal cortex network involved in relearning following a rule -switch; and (ii) an amygdala-hippocampus network involved in reward-motivated learning. Support for a role of cortico-limbic-striatal brain networks in both emotion and reward processing in alcoholism comes from recent fMRI studies indicating blunted amygdala activation to socially relevant faces in alcoholics47 and enhanced ventral striatal Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical activation to alcohol-related stimuli.48 Further evidence for an interaction of emotion and
reward systems in alcoholism comes from an fMRI study showing that anxiety ratings selleck products predicted parahippocampal Dacomitinib activation to emotionally negative images, but not when these images were presented together with alcohol stimuli,49 suggesting that alcohol cues attenuated the brain’s responsiveness to fearful emotions. Compromise of anatomical connections may impair neural signal transmission between brain regions involved in emotion processing and attentional bias toward alcohol cues in alcoholics.50 Using white matter fiber tractography to understand how impaired integrity of neuroanatomical structural connectivity in corticolimbic-striatal circuits affects emotions and reward learning can explain how the effect of chronic alcoholism on these brain systems can mediate emotion, cognition, and behavior.