Date of Award

August 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Devin Mueller

Committee Members

Karyn M. Frick, Fred J. Helmstetter, John R. Mantsch, James R. Moyer, Devin Mueller


Beta Adrenergic Receptor, Cocaine, Memory, Propranolol, Reconsolidation, Retrieval


Abnormally strong memories underlie common disorders including addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Memory disruption would therefore be beneficial for treatment of these disorders. Evidence reveals that cocaine conditioned place preference (CPP) memories are susceptible to long-lasting disruption during memory retrieval. For example, inhibition of β-adrenergic receptor (β-AR) activity within the prelimbic medial prefrontal cortex (PL-mPFC) prevents cocaine CPP memory retrieval, and this retrieval impairment is both long-lasting and prevents subsequent reinstatement of the CPP. Despite this, whether PL-mPFC β-AR activity is a fundamental mechanism required to maintain retrieval of other memories is unclear. Furthermore, how PL-mPFC β-AR activity maintains memory retrieval is unknown. Thus, here I use a combination of behavioral and electrophysiological techniques to 1) evaluate how PL-mPFC β-AR activity regulates retrieval of memories related to a natural reward and to an aversive stimulus and 2) to determine the mechanism of memory retrieval deficits.