1. Neuroscience
Download icon

Noradrenergic projections from the locus coeruleus to the amygdala constrain fear memory reconsolidation

  1. Josué Haubrich  Is a corresponding author
  2. Matteo Bernabo
  3. Karim Nader
  1. McGill University, Canada
Research Article
  • Cited 5
  • Views 2,139
  • Annotations
Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e57010 doi: 10.7554/eLife.57010
Voice your concerns about research culture and research communication: Have your say in our 7th annual survey.


Memory reconsolidation is a fundamental plasticity process in the brain that allows established memories to be changed or erased. However, certain boundary conditions limit the parameters under which memories can be made plastic. Strong memories do not destabilize, for instance, although why they are resilient is mostly unknown. Here, we investigated the hypothesis that specific modulatory signals shape memory formation into a state that is reconsolidation-resistant. We find that the activation of the noradrenaline-locus coeruleus system (NOR-LC) during strong fear memory encoding increases molecular mechanisms of stability at the expense of lability in the amygdala of rats. Preventing the NOR-LC from modulating strong fear encoding results in the formation of memories that can undergo reconsolidation within the amygdala and thus are vulnerable to post-reactivation interference. Thus, the memory strength boundary condition on reconsolidation is set at the time of encoding by the action of the NOR-LC.

Data availability

All data is available via Dryad doi:10.5061/dryad.70rxwdbtq

The following data sets were generated

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Josué Haubrich

    Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-3632-5566
  2. Matteo Bernabo

    Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Karim Nader

    Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (203523)

  • Karim Nader

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (238757)

  • Karim Nader

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.


Animal experimentation: All procedures were approved by McGill's Animal Care Committee (Animal Use Protocol #2000-4512) and complied with the Canadian Council on Animal Care guidelines.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Mihaela D Iordanova, Concordia University, Canada

Publication history

  1. Received: March 17, 2020
  2. Accepted: May 18, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: May 18, 2020 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: June 16, 2020 (version 2)


© 2020, Haubrich et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


  • 2,139
    Page views
  • 365
  • 5

Article citation count generated by polling the highest count across the following sources: Crossref, PubMed Central, Scopus.

Download links

A two-part list of links to download the article, or parts of the article, in various formats.

Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)

Download citations (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)

Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)

Further reading

    1. Neuroscience
    Eun Ju Shin et al.
    Research Article Updated

    Studies in rats, monkeys, and humans have found action-value signals in multiple regions of the brain. These findings suggest that action-value signals encoded in these brain structures bias choices toward higher expected rewards. However, previous estimates of action-value signals might have been inflated by serial correlations in neural activity and also by activity related to other decision variables. Here, we applied several statistical tests based on permutation and surrogate data to analyze neural activity recorded from the striatum, frontal cortex, and hippocampus. The results show that previously identified action-value signals in these brain areas cannot be entirely accounted for by concurrent serial correlations in neural activity and action value. We also found that neural activity related to action value is intermixed with signals related to other decision variables. Our findings provide strong evidence for broadly distributed neural signals related to action value throughout the brain.

    1. Neuroscience
    Gonçalo Lopes et al.
    Research Article Updated

    Real-time rendering of closed-loop visual environments is important for next-generation understanding of brain function and behaviour, but is often prohibitively difficult for non-experts to implement and is limited to few laboratories worldwide. We developed BonVision as an easy-to-use open-source software for the display of virtual or augmented reality, as well as standard visual stimuli. BonVision has been tested on humans and mice, and is capable of supporting new experimental designs in other animal models of vision. As the architecture is based on the open-source Bonsai graphical programming language, BonVision benefits from native integration with experimental hardware. BonVision therefore enables easy implementation of closed-loop experiments, including real-time interaction with deep neural networks, and communication with behavioural and physiological measurement and manipulation devices.