Discusses the role of specific brain structures, so-called bottleneck structures, in different memory processes and the memory impairments resulting from damage to these structures. Memory systems are first classified according to the dimensions of time and content. Then, a variety of amnesic syndromes are highlighted: they result from damage to the medial temporal lobe, medial diencephalic structures, basal forebrain, amygdala, and from neocortical lesions. Additionally, psychogenic amnesia and its suspected neurobiological causes as well as functional amnesia is discussed. Finally, the bottleneck structures involved in the processing of different memory aspects -encoding, consolidation, storage, and retrieval- are reviewed. It is concluded that similar amnesic syndromes caused by heterogeneous lesions are due to the disconnection of a network of brain structures involved in memory processes.