The relationship between cortisol and memory: Preliminary analysis on the role of affective state and the amygdala Allison L. Jahna,b, Simone Kernb, Richard J. Davidsona, b, Jerry L. Halversona, Clemens Kirschbaumc, and Heather C. Abercrombiea University of Wisconsin-Madison Departments of Psychology & Psychiatrya, The Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior b, Technical University of Dresdenc Background Methods RESULTS * 0.57 Counterbalanced 0.52 Historically, cortisol has been considered harmful to cognition and health. However, animal and human data suggest that moderate cortisol elevations can 15 mg Cortisol Placebo Memory Data for Low & High PA 0.52 0.47 be beneficial. 0.47 Low PA Cortisol release affects cognitive processes such as memory. Research is divided Low PA Pr Pr High PA High PA 0.42 with some studies finding that cortisol impairs memory and others finding that 0.42 cortisol facilitates memory (Maheu et al. 2004; Abercrombie et al. 2003). Screening Visit MRI Sim ulation Memory Test Interestingly, research suggests that the beneficial effects of cortisol on memory 0.37 0.37 Phone Screen Beginning depend on the emotional state of the individual (Okuda et al., 2004; Abercrombie approx. 4:30pm et al., 2006). These studies suggest that state negative affect plays a permissive 0.32 0.32 role in the effects of cortisol on memory. 3.0 T esla GE SIGNA Amygdala ROI for Low & High PA Placebo Cortisol Placebo Cortisol Scanner *Significance p < 0.05 Animal data suggests that amygdala activation, specifically the basolateral region Contrast: Interaction: F (1,12) = 6.16, p < of the amygdala, is necessary for the beneficial effects of cortisol on memory. To 0.05 date, this is the first human investigation of the role of the amygdala in the effects FMRI Stimuli Presentation Negative Word Trials – (Neutral + Positive Word Trials) of cortisol on memory. Average Percent Signal Change Hypotheses: We hypothesize that a moderate dose of cortisol given in the late Left Ventral Amygdala quiet Time Course Left Ventral Amygdala afternoon (when endogenous levels are low) will be related to increases in brain 1.6 † activation in the amygdala compared to placebo. We hypothesize that this effect + R L 1.4 25 will be associated with emotional state. Finally, we hypothesize that changes in 1.2 20 emotional state will be related to changes in memory for words encoded during Percent Signal Change lonely 1 15 elevated cortisol. • AVOTEC goggle system & Eprime 0.8 Low PA 10 LowPA Cort Ng LowPA Plac Ng Presentation Software for stimuli display + 0.6 High PA LowPA Cort NuPo 5 LowPA Plac NuPo Participants • SRET (Self-Referent Encoding Task) participants 0.4 0 asked to decide whether descriptive words are exhilarated 0.2 • Data collection is ongoing self-referent by making a dichotomous button press. 0 -5 Each scan has different sets of words matched -10 • 17 Participants (5 Women; Age-M:28.72; SD:7.21; 3 participants dropped from -0.2 0 2 4 6 8 10 for valence and arousal. Placebo Cortisol † Trend p < 1.0 Seconds analysis; 1 for abnormal levels of cortisol on the cortisol scan day; 1 experimenter error; 1 abnormal memory values on the memory testing day) • Memory session: recognition memory assessed 4-6 days after scanning session • Right handed; Free of general health issues; Free of psychiatric disorders Conclusion While these analyses are preliminary, we find support for increased brain activation in the ventral amygdala after the administration of cortisol only in individuals with low positive affect. This effect was found in response to negative words MRI Methods & Analysis compared to neutral and positive. Also, we find that individuals with low positive affect also show greater memory for words Quadrature Birdcage Coil for T1 high resolution anatomical & BOLD Group Selection encoded during cortisol administration – and that this effect is more evident when examining memory for negatively valenced Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988) words. Sagital Acquisition; Flip Angle: 90 degrees; TR: 2000 ms; TE: 30 ms •Due to low variation in negative affect scores we used positive affect Future directions: We hypothesize that cortisol will alter brain activation in other regions such as the hippocampus, Slices per Volume: 30; Voxel Size: 3.75 x 3.75x 4mm with 1 mm gap parahippocampal gyrus, and prefrontal cortex. Activation in these regions may be especially important because of their as an index of affective state AFNI: Slice timing correction, Motion correction, Spatial smoothing: 6mm association with memory and emotion. We are also collecting data on emotion and arousal ratings of the stimuli in the •Median split: 7 Low Positive Affect (Low PA; 3 women); 7 High scanner. Thus, we will examine the relationship among memory, changes in brain activation, and affective responses. Normalization to Talairach space Positive Affect (High PA; 2 women) Extraction of amygdala ROI in AFNI with predefined masks References: Abercrombie HC, Kalin NH, Thurow ME, Rosenkranz MA, Davidson RJ (2003). Cortisol variation in humans affects memory for emotionally laden and neutral information. Beh Neuroscience 117:505-16. GLM: Gamma Variate Function; percent signal change from baseline for Negative Abercrombie, H.C., Speck, N.S., & Monticelli, R.M. (2006). Endogenouscortisol elevations are related to memory facilitation o nly inindividuals who are emotionally aroused. PNEC 31:187-96. Maheu FS, Joober R., Beaulieu S, Lupien SJ (2004). Differential Effects of Adrenergic and Corticosteroid Hormonal Systems on Human Short- and Long-Term Declarative Memory for Emotionally Arousing Material. Beh Neuroscience 118:420-8. Word Trials – (Neutral + Positive Word Trials) Okuda S, Roozendaal B, McGaugh JL (2004). Glucocorticid effects on object recognition memory require training -associated emotional arousal. PNAS 101:853-8. Watson D, Clark LA, Tellegen A (1988). Development and Validation of Brief Measures of Positive and Negative Affect: The PANA S Scales. J Personality & Social Psych 54:1063-70. This research was supported in part by a NARSAD Young Investigator Award given to Heather Abercrombie.