2020 Volume 96 Issue 3 Pages 95-106
Memory retrieval is not a passive process. When a memory is retrieved, the retrieved memory is destabilized, similar to short-term memory just after learning, and requires memory reconsolidation to re-stabilize the memory. Recent studies characterizing destabilization and reconsolidation showed that a retrieved memory is not always destabilized and that there are boundary conditions that determine the induction of destabilization and reconsolidation according to certain parameters, such as the duration of retrieval and the memory strength and age. Moreover, the reconsolidation of contextual fear memory is not independent of memory extinction; rather, these memory processes interact with each other. There is an increasing number of findings suggesting that destabilization following retrieval facilitates the modification, weakening, or strengthening of the original memory, and the resultant updated memory is stabilized through reconsolidation. Reconsolidation could be targeted therapeutically to improve emotional disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and phobia. Thus, this review summarizes recent findings to understand the mechanisms and function of reconsolidation.