Memories are consolidated and are inscribed as stable traces in the brain; however, once they are retrieved, they are rendered labile and can be modified in a process termed reconsolidation. Studies illustrate the power of behavioral stress and stress hormones to modulate memory processes while focusing on consolidation. However, sparse evidence indicates a critical role of stress in modulating reconsolidation. In this review, we discuss the effects of stress and stress-related neurotransmitter systems on reconsolidation of emotional and non-emotional types of memories. We show that although some general features underlie consolidation and reconsolidation, there is a possible dissimilarity between the two processes that may be dependent on factors such as the cognitive task employed, specific type of stressor, and the arousal state of the animal. The ability to disrupt or facilitate the reconsolidation of emotional and drug-related memories by stress exposure has important implications for the treatment of anxiety disorders linked to traumatic memories, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and of drug-of-abuse memories.
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