Effect of cortisol diurnal rhythm on emotional memory in healthy volunteers

[Speaker] Nagamine, Mitsue:1
[Co-author] Noguchi, Hiroko:2, Takahashi, Nobuaki:3, Kim, Yoshiharu:4, Matsuoka, Yutaka:5
1:National Defense Academy (Japan), 2:Musashino University (Japan), 3:Kwansei Gakuin University (Japan), 4:National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry (Japan), 5:National Cancer Center (Japan)

Previous studies have demonstrated that circadian-mediated cortisol levels have an important role in cognition, however, little is known the relationship between cortisol diurnal rhythm and cognitive function in healthy subjects. This study investigated the effect of salivary cortisol diurnal rhythm on emotional memory.
Healthy volunteers (44 male and 23 female; mean age 20.60yrs) participated in the study. Participants viewed emotionally arousing slides (day1) and one week later they were asked to return to the laboratory and were given a "surprise" memory test to examine their retention of emotional memory. They were also asked to collect saliva samples at four time points (08:00, 11:00, 15:00, 20:00) on day1 and the slope of diurnal cortisol variation was calculated.
The result showed that the cortisol slope was negatively correlated with emotional memory enhancement (r=-0.24, p=.052), so that participants who had a flatter cortisol slope showed a reduced or absent emotional memory enhancement.
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