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Neurobiology of Learning and Memory

Brandy A Briones, Vincent D Tang, Amanda E Haye, Elizabeth Gould
Increases in the number and/or the size of dendritic spines, sites of excitatory synapses, have been linked to different types of learning as well as synaptic plasticity in several brain regions, including the hippocampus, sensory cortex, motor cortex, and cerebellum. By contrast, a previous study reported that training on a maze task that requires the dorsal striatum has no effect on medium spiny neuron dendritic spines in the dorsal striatum. These findings might suggest brain region-specific differences in levels of plasticity as well as different cellular processes underlying different types of learning...
June 14, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Julien Dufort-Gervais, Valérie Mongrain, Jonathan Brouillette
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a debilitating neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive hippocampal-dependent explicit memory deficits that begin at the onset of the illness. An early hallmark of AD is the accumulation of amyloid-beta (Aß) proteins in brain structures involved in encoding and consolidation of memory, like the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Aß neurotoxicity is known to induce synaptic dysfunctions and neuronal death leading to cognitive decline. Another recurrent event observed in AD is sleep disturbances...
June 14, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
María Banqueri, Marta Méndez, Jorge L Arias
Subjects' early life events will affect them later in life. When these events are stressful, such as child abuse in humans or repeated maternal separation in rodents, subjects can show some behavioral and brain alterations. This study used young adult female Wistar rats that were maternally raised (AFR), maternally separated from post-natal day (PND) 1 to PND10 (MS10), or maternally separated from PND1 to PND21 (MS21), in order to assess the effects of maternal separation (MS) on spatial learning and memory, as well as cognitive flexibility, using the Morris Water Maze (MWM)...
June 14, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Izabela Bialuk, Andrzej Taranta, Maria Małgorzata Winnicka
Significance of interleukin 6 (IL-6) deficiency in cognitive processes was evaluated in 4- and 24-month-old C57BL/6J IL-6-deficient (IL-6 KO) and control (WT) mice in Morris water maze (MWM), holeboard test (HB) and elevated plus maze (EPM). During 3-day learning escape latency time (ELT) was longer in IL-6 KO than in WT mice, however their swimming was slower, floating longer, and path length did not differ. The comparison of ELT and the distance traveled between the first and the third learning day within each group revealed significant decrease of ELT in all groups with the highest difference in 4-month-old WT mice, and significant decrease of distance travelled only in both groups of WT mice...
June 13, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Sara E Alger, Shirley Chen, Jessica D Payne
Information that is the most salient and important for future use is preferentially preserved through active processing during sleep. Emotional salience is a biologically adaptive cue that influences episodic memory processing through interactions between amygdalar and hippocampal activity. However, other cues that influence the importance of information, such as the explicit direction to remember or forget, interact with the inherent salience of information to determine its fate in memory. It is unknown how sleep-based processes selectively consolidate this complex information...
June 12, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Timothy F Musial, Elizabeth Molina-Campos, Linda A Bean, Natividad Ybarra, Ronen Borenstein, Matthew L Russo, Eric W Buss, Daniel Justus, Krystina M Neuman, Gelique D Ayala, Sheila A Mullen, Yuliya Voskobiynyk, Christopher T Tulisiak, Jasmine A Fels, Nicola J Corbett, Gabriel Carballo, Colette D Kennedy, Jelena Popovic, Josefina Ramos-Franco, Michael Fill, Melissa R Pergande, Jeffrey A Borgia, Grant T Corbett, Kalipada Pahan, Ye Han, Dane M Chetkovich, Robert J Vassar, Richard W Byrne, M Matthew Oh, Travis R Stoub, Stefan Remy, John F Disterhoft, Daniel A Nicholson
Voltage-gated ion channels are critical for neuronal integration. Some of these channels, however, are misregulated in several neurological disorders, causing both gain- and loss-of-function channelopathies in neurons. Using several transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer's disease (AD), we find that sub-threshold voltage signals strongly influenced by hyperpolarization-activated, cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels progressively deteriorate over chronological aging in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. The progressively degraded signaling via HCN channels in the transgenic mice is accompanied by an age-related global loss of their non-uniform dendritic expression...
June 12, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
David Levcik, Tereza Nekovarova, Eliska Antosova, Ales Stuchlik, Daniel Klement
The role of rodent hippocampus has been intensively studied in different cognitive tasks. However, its role in discrimination of objects remains controversial due to conflicting findings. We tested whether the number and type of features available for the identification of objects might affect the strategy (hippocampal-independent vs. hippocampal-dependent) that rats adopt to solve object discrimination tasks. We trained rats to discriminate 2D visual objects presented on a computer screen. The objects were defined either by their shape only or by multiple-features (a combination of filling pattern and brightness in addition to the shape)...
June 7, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Graelyn B Humiston, Erin J Wamsley
Post-training sleep benefits both declarative and procedural memory consolidation. However, recent research suggests that eyes-closed waking rest may provide a similar benefit. Brokaw et al. (2016), for example, recently demonstrated that verbal declarative memory improved more following a 15min period of waking rest, in comparison to 15min of active wake. Here, we used the same procedures to test whether procedural memory similarly benefits from waking rest. Participants were trained on the Motor Sequence Task (MST), followed by a 15min retention interval during which they either rested with their eyes closed or completed a distractor task...
June 5, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Christian Panitz, Matthias F J Sperl, Juergen Hennig, Tim Klucken, Christiane Hermann, Erik M Mueller
Individual differences in long-term stability of fear memories are of potential relevance for stable dispositions related to threat processing, such as neuroticism/anxiety and fearfulness. As previous research suggests a prominent role of dopamine for the retention of conditioned and extinguished fear, dopaminergic gene polymorphisms may also relate to individual differences in fear stability. While the COMT Val158Met polymorphism causes individual differences in prefrontal dopamine, its associations with human long-term fear extinction are currently unknown...
June 5, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Eus J W Van Someren, J M Oosterman, B Van Harten, R L Vogels, A A Gouw, H C Weinstein, A Poggesi, Ph Scheltens, E J A Scherder
Atrophy of the medial temporal lobe of the brain is key to memory function and memory complaints in old age. While age and some morbidities are major factors for medial temporal lobe atrophy, individual differences remain, and mechanisms are insufficiently known. The largest combined neuroimaging and whole genome study to date indicates that medial temporal lobe volume is most associated with common polymorphisms in the GRIN2B gene that encodes for the 2B subunit (NR2B) of the NMDA receptor. Because sleep disruption induces a selective loss of NR2B from hippocampal synaptic membranes in rodents, and because of several other reports on medial temporal lobe sensitivity to sleep disruption, we hypothesized a contribution of the typical age-related increase in sleep-wake rhythm fragmentation to medial temporal lobe atrophy...
June 1, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Jessica L Sharp, Megan E Miller-Cahill, David C Riccio, Stephen B Fountain
Serial pattern learning is a model paradigm for studying parallel-processing in complex learning in rats. The current experiment extends the paradigm to the study of sequential memory by examining forgetting curves for the component element types that make up a serial pattern. Adult male and female rats were trained in a serial multiple choice (SMC) task in which rats learned a serial pattern of nose-poke responses in a circular array of 8 receptacles mounted on the walls of an octagonal operant chamber. The pattern was 123-234-345-456-567-678-781-818, where digits represent the clockwise positions of successive correct receptacles...
May 29, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Anthony J Santarelli, Arshad M Khan, Andrew M Poulos
The neural circuits underlying the acquisition, retention and retrieval of contextual fear conditioning have been well characterized in the adult animal. A growing body of work in younger rodents indicates that context-mediated fear expression may vary across development. However, it remains unclear how this expression may be defined across the full range of key developmental ages. Nor is it fully clear whether the structure of the adult context fear network generalizes to earlier ages. In this study, we compared context fear retrieval-induced behavior and neuroanatomically constrained immediate early-gene expression across infant (P19), early and late juvenile (P24 and P35), and adult (P90) male Long-Evans rats...
May 25, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Jiabao Zhang, Sang-Yoon Ko, Yulan Liao, Yubeen Kwon, Se Jin Jeon, Aeree Sohn, Jae Hoon Cheong, Dong Hyun Kim, Jong Hoon Ryu
Many works have been performed to understand the mechanisms of the formation and persistence of memory. However, it is not fully understood whether the decay of long-term memory can be modulated by the activation of dopamine D1 receptor. A Barnes maze task was employed to measure long-term spatial memory. We observed that the spatial memory acquired through 3 trials per session for 4 days had begun to fade out by the 14th day and had completely disappeared by 21 days after the first probe test. The intraperitoneal administration of SKF 38393 (a dopamine D1 receptor agonist) for 7 days beginning on the 14th day after the first probe test prevented natural memory forgetting, and the intraperitoneal administration of SCH 23390 (a dopamine D1 receptor antagonist) prevented this memory persistence...
May 24, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Anna Adhikari, Nycole A Copping, Beth Onaga, Michael C Pride, Rochelle L Coulson, Mu Yang, Dag H Yasui, Janine M LaSalle, Jill L Silverman
Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is an imprinted neurodevelopmental disease caused by a loss of paternal genes on chromosome 15q11-q13. It is characterized by cognitive impairments, developmental delay, sleep abnormalities, and hyperphagia often leading to obesity. Clinical research has shown that a lack of expression of SNORD116, a paternally expressed imprinted gene cluster that encodes multiple copies of a small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA) in both humans and mice, is most likely responsible for many PWS symptoms seen in humans...
May 22, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
A Pietrelli, L Matkovic, M Vacotto, J J Lopez-Costa, N Basso, A Brusco
Aerobic exercise (AE) benefits brain health and behavior. Serotonin (5-HT) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are known to mediate and shape cognitive processes. Both systems share some actions: BDNF is involved in the maturation and function of 5-HT neurons. In turn, 5-HT is involved in neuroplasticity phenomena mediated by BDNF and stimulated by exercise. The aim of this work was to study the long-term effects of AE on BDNF- 5-HT systems and cognitive function in rats at different ages. A lifelong moderate-intensity aerobic training program was designed, in which aerobically exercised (E) and sedentary control (C) rats were studied at middle (8 months) and old age (18 months) by means of biochemical, immunohistochemical and behavioral assays...
May 22, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Moria D Braun, Theresa M Kisko, Débora Dalla Vecchia, Roberto Andreatini, Rainer K W Schwarting, Markus Wöhr
The CACNA1C gene is strongly implicated in the etiology of multiple major neuropsychiatric disorders, such as bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia, with cognitive deficits being a common feature. It is unclear, however, by which mechanisms CACNA1C variants advance the risk of developing neuropsychiatric disorders. This study set out to investigate cognitive functioning in a newly developed genetic Cacna1c rat model. Specifically, spatial and reversal learning, as well as object recognition memory were assessed in heterozygous Cacna1c+/- rats and compared to wildtype Cacna1c+/+ littermate controls in both sexes...
May 22, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Nino Mancini, Martin Giurfa, Jean-Christophe Sandoz, Aurore Avarguès-Weber
The honey bee Apis mellifera is a major insect model for studying visual cognition. Free-flying honey bees learn to associate different visual cues with a sucrose reward and may deploy sophisticated cognitive strategies to this end. Yet, the neural bases of these capacities cannot be studied in flying insects. Conversely, immobilized bees are accessible to neurobiological investigation but training them to respond appetitively to visual stimuli paired with sucrose reward is difficult. Here we succeeded in coupling visual conditioning in harnessed bees with pharmacological analyses on the role of octopamine (OA), dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) in visual learning...
May 21, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Lisa-Marie Stock, Christian J Merz
Psychosocial stress is known to crucially influence learning and memory processes. Several studies have already shown an impairing effect of elevated cortisol concentrations on memory retrieval. These studies mainly used learning material consisting of stimuli with a limited ecological validity. When using material with a social contextual component or with educational relevant material both impairing and enhancing stress effects on memory retrieval could be observed. In line with these latter studies, the present experiment also used material with a higher ecological validity (a coherent text consisting of daily relevant numeric, figural and verbal information)...
May 19, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Ryoko Suzuki, Akihiro Fujikawa, Yukio Komatsu, Kazuya Kuboyama, Naomi Tanga, Masaharu Noda
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in synaptic plasticity related to learning and memory. We previously reported that SPARC-related protein-containing immunoglobulin domains 1 (SPIG1, also known as Follistatin-like protein 4, FSTL4) binds to pro-BDNF and negatively regulates BDNF maturation; however, its neurological functions, particularly in learning and memory, have not yet been elucidated. We herein examined the electrophysiological and behavioral phenotypes of Spig1-knockout (Spig1-KO) mice...
May 18, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Carlos N Oyanedel, Anuck Sawangjit, Jan Born, Marion Inostroza
Episodic memory formation is considered a genuinely hippocampal function. Its study in rodents has relied on two different task paradigms, i.e. the so called "what-where-when" (WW-When) task and "what-where-which" (WW-Which) task. The WW-When task aims to assess the memory for an episode as an event bound into its context defined by spatial and distinct temporal information, the WW-Which task lacks the temporal component and introduces, instead, an "occasion setter" marking the broader contextual configuration in which the event occurred...
May 18, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
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