Determinants to trigger memory reconsolidation: The role of retrieval and updating information

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Long-term memories can undergo destabilization/restabilization processes, collectively called reconsolidation. However, the parameters that trigger memory reconsolidation are poorly understood and are a matter of intense investigation. Particularly, memory retrieval is widely held as requisite to initiate reconsolidation. This assumption makes sense since only relevant cues will induce reconsolidation of a specific memory. However, recent studies show that pharmacological inhibition of retrieval does not avoid memory from undergoing reconsolidation, indicating that memory reconsolidation occurs through a process that can be dissociated from retrieval. We propose that retrieval is not a unitary process but has two dissociable components; one leading to the expression of memory and the other to reconsolidation, referred herein as executer and integrator respectively. The executer would lead to the behavioral expression of the memory. This component would be the one disrupted on the studies that show reconsolidation independence from retrieval. The integrator would deal with reconsolidation. This component of retrieval would lead to long-term memory destabilization when specific conditions are met. We think that an important number of reports are consistent with the hypothesis that reconsolidation is only initiated when updating information is acquired. We suggest that the integrator would initiate reconsolidation to integrate updating information into long-term memory.

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