Author(s): Cai ZJ
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Abstract This paper proposes a new theory addressing the neural mechanism of declarative memory consolidation and retrieval. The premise of the theory is that the cortex is responsible for the storage of declarative memory while the medial temporal lobe is responsible for the consolidation and retrieval of declarative memory. The theory suggests that the medial temporal lobe can only accomplish its functions related to memory by hierarchically and cooperatively regulating the descending limbic system, including the hypothalamus, epithalamus, septum, mammillary bodies and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. These descending limbic structures, together with the amygdala, further send efferents to the four ascending NA, 5-HT, DA and ACh systems. It is these four ascending extrathalamic regulatory systems that provide the feedback neural pathways to the cortex and regulate the processes of memory consolidation and retrieval in the cortex. Therefore, the coupling of these descending limbic structures to the ascending NA, 5-HT, DA and ACh systems completes the neural circuits responsible for the consolidation and retrieval of new declarative memories. This neural mechanism of declarative memory consolidation and retrieval is universal to all species in higher mammals.
This article was published in Neurosci Biobehav Rev
and referenced in Journal of Sleep Disorders & Therapy