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Neurobiology of Learning and Memory

Mark Galizio, Melissa Deal, Michael Mathews, Danielle Panoz-Brown, Ashley Prichard, Katherine E Bruce
The rodent odor span task (OST) uses an incrementing non-matching to sample procedure in which a series of odors is presented and selection of the session-novel odor is reinforced. An OST is frequently used to test the effects of neurobiological variables on memory capacity as the number of odors to remember increases during the course of the session. In this regard, one important finding has been that NMDA receptor antagonists selectively impair OST performance at doses that spare accuracy on control tasks...
March 9, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
J Schomaker
Exploring novel environments enhances learning in animals. Due to differing traditions, research into the effects of spatial novelty on learning in humans is scarce. Recent developments of affordable and fMRI-compatible virtual reality (VR) and mobile EEG systems can help bridge the gap between the two literatures. One promising study showed that spatial novelty also promotes learning in humans. It still remains largely unknown, however, which aspect of novelty underlies the beneficial effect on memory, as novelty, expectations, and volition are often confounded in animal studies...
March 9, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Adam J Kirry, Deven J Durigan, Robert C Twining, Marieke R Gilmartin
The association of a sensory cue and an aversive footshock that are separated in time, as in trace fear conditioning, requires persistent activity in prelimbic cortex during the cue-shock interval. The activation of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors has been shown to facilitate persistent firing of cortical cells in response to brief stimulation, and muscarinic antagonists in the prefrontal cortex impair working memory. It is unknown, however, if the acquisition of associative trace fear conditioning is dependent on muscarinic signaling in the prefrontal cortex...
March 6, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Zu-Feng Wang, Cheng Gao, Wei Chen, Yuan Gao, Hao-Chen Wang, Ying Meng, Cheng-Liang Luo, Ming-Yang Zhang, Guang Chen, Xi-Ping Chen, Tao Wang, Lu-Yang Tao
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a complex injury that can cause severe disabilities and even death. TBI can induce secondary injury cascades, including but not limited to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, apoptosis and autophagy. Although the investigators has previously shown that salubrinal, the selective phosphatase inhibitor of p-eIF2α, ameliorated neurologic deficits in murine TBI model, the neuroprotective mechanisms of salubrinal need further research to warrant the preclinical value. This study was undertaken to characterize the effects of salubrinal on cell death and neurological outcomes following TBI in mice and the potential mechanisms...
March 6, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Zackary A Cope, Elena M Vazey, Stan B Floresco, Gary S Aston Jones
Appropriate modification of behavior in response to our dynamic environment is essential for adaptation and survival. This adaptability allows organisms to maximize the utility of behavior-related energy expenditure. Modern theories of locus coeruleus (LC) function implicate a pivotal role for the noradrenergic nucleus in mediating switches between focused behavior during periods of high utility (exploit) versus disengagement of behavior and exploration of other, more rewarding opportunities. Two modes of activity in LC neurons have been characterized as elements in an Adaptive Gain Theory (AGT) of LC function...
February 22, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Christopher C Angelakos, Jennifer C Tudor, Sarah L Ferri, Thomas A Jongens, Ted Abel
Genome-wide association and whole exome sequencing studies from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) patient populations have implicated numerous risk factor genes whose mutation or deletion results in significantly increased incidence of ASD. Behavioral studies of monogenic mutant mouse models of ASD-associated genes have been useful for identifying aberrant neural circuitry. However, behavioral results often differ from lab to lab, and studies incorporating both males and females are often not performed despite the significant sex-bias of ASD...
February 20, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Kerstin Weiss, Thomas Treiber, Gunter Meister, Gerhard Schratt
microRNA-dependent post-transcriptional control represents an important gene-regulatory layer in post-mitotic neuronal development and synaptic plasticity. We recently identified the brain-enriched miR-138 as a negative regulator of dendritic spine morphogenesis in rat hippocampal neurons. A potential involvement of miR-138 in cognition is further supported by a recent GWAS study on memory performance in a cohort of aged (>60 years) individuals. The expression of miR-138, which is encoded in two independent genomic loci (miR-138-1 and -2), is subject to both cell-type and developmental stage-specific regulation, the underlying molecular mechanisms however are poorly understood...
February 18, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Emilie Noe, Nicolas Bonneau, Marie-Line Fournier, Stéphanie Caillé, Martine Cador, Catherine Le Moine
Opiate withdrawal induces an early aversive state which can be associated to contexts and/or cues, and re-exposure to either these contexts or cues may participate in craving and relapse. Nucleus accumbens (NAC), hippocampus (HPC) and basolateral amygdala (BLA) are crucial substrates for acute opiate withdrawal, and for withdrawal memory retrieval. Also HPC and BLA interacting with the NAC are suggested to respectively mediate the processing of context and cue representations of drug-related memories. Here we used a paradigm of conditioned suppression of operant food seeking, allowing to differentiate context and cue related responses, to study the influence of withdrawal memories on operant behavior and the underlying neural substrates...
February 13, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Megan L Shipman, John T Green
There is a widespread, nearly complete consensus that the human and non-human primate cerebellum is engaged in non-motor, cognitive functions. This body of research has implicated the lateral portions of lobule VII (Crus I and Crus II) and the ventrolateral dentate nucleus. With rodents, however, it is not so clear. We review here approximately 40 years of experiments using a variety of cerebellar manipulations in rats and mice and measuring the effects on executive functions (working memory, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility), spatial navigation, discrimination learning, and goal-directed and stimulus-driven instrumental conditioning...
February 13, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Wen-Juan Yang, Hui-Zhong Wen, Lu-Xu Zhou, Yin-Pei Luo, Wen-Sheng Hou, Wang Xing, Xue-Long Tian
Repetitive anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in a rat model of Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been shown to have distinct neuroprotective effects. Moreover, the effects of anodal tDCS not only occur during the stimulation but also persist after the stimulation has ended (after-effects). Here, the duration of the after-effects induced by repetitive anodal tDCS was investigated based on our previous studies. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into three groups: a sham group, a β-amyloid (Aβ) group (AD group) and a stimulation group (ATD group)...
February 5, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Soomaayeh Heysieattalab, Ka-Hung Lee, Yan Liu, Yubin Wang, Michael R Foy, Xiaoning Bi, Michel Baudry
Calpain-1 and calpain-2 are involved in the regulation of several signaling pathways and neuronal functions in the brain. Our recent studies indicate that calpain-1 is required for hippocampal synaptic plasticity, including long-term depression (LTD) and long-term potentiation (LTP) in field CA1. However, little is known regarding the contributions of calpain-1 to cerebellar synaptic plasticity. Low frequency stimulation (LFS, 5 Hz, 5 min)-induced LTP at parallel fibers to Purkinje cell synapses was markedly impaired in cerebellar slices from calpain-1 knock-out (KO) mice...
February 5, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Elentina K Argyrousi, Laurence de Nijs, Davi C Lagatta, Anna Schlütter, Magdalena T Weidner, Johanna Zöller, Nick P van Goethem, Sâmia Rl Joca, Daniel L A van den Hove, Jos Prickaerts
Enhancement of synaptic plasticity through changes in neuronal gene expression is a prerequisite for improved cognitive performance. Moreover, several studies have shown that DNA methylation is able to affect the expression of (e.g. plasticity) genes that are important for several cognitive functions. In this study, the effect of the DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) inhibitor RG108 was assessed on object pattern separation (OPS) task in mice. In addition, its effect on the expression of target genes was monitored...
February 4, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Gavin A Scott, Andrew J Roebuck, Quentin Greba, John G Howland
Working memory (WM), the capacity for short-term storage and manipulation of small quantities of information, depends on fronto-parietal circuits. However, the function of the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) in WM has gone relatively understudied in rodents. Recent evidence calls into question whether the PPC is necessary for all forms of WM. Thus, the present experiment examined the role of the rat PPC in the Trial-Unique Non-matching-to-Location (TUNL) task, a touchscreen-based visuospatial WM task that relies on the rat medial prefrontal cortex...
February 4, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Karen Ka Lam Pang, Mahima Sharma, Sreedharan Sajikumar
Various epigenetic modifications, including histone lysine methylation, play an integral role in learning and memory. The importance of the histone lysine methyltransferase complex G9a/GLP and its associated histone H3 lysine K9 dimethylation in memory formation and cognition, has garnered the attention of researchers in the past decade. Recent studies feature G9a/GLP as the 'bidirectional regulator of synaptic plasticity', the neural correlate of memory. As the 'title' suggests, G9a/GLP participates in the maintenance of both long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD)...
January 28, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Ilaria Barone, Hannah Hawks-Mayer, Jonathan O Lipton
Sleep is a mysterious, developmentally regulated behavior fundamental for cognition in both adults and developing animals. A large number of studies offer a substantive body of evidence that demonstrates that the ontogeny of sleep architecture parallels brain development. Sleep deprivation impairs the consolidation of learned tasks into long-term memories and likely links sleep to the neural mechanisms underlying memory and its physiological roots in brain plasticity. Consistent with this notion is the alarming frequency of sleep and circadian rhythm dysfunction in children with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs)...
January 19, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
C W E M Quaedflieg, H Stoffregen, I Sebalo, T Smeets
Acute stress has been found to impair goal-directed instrumental behaviour, a cognitively flexible behaviour that requires cognitive control. The current study aimed to investigate the role of individual differences in baseline and stress-induced changes in working memory (WM) on the shift to less goal-directed responding under stress. To this end, 112 healthy participants performed an instrumental learning task. In phase 1, participants learned instrumental actions that were associated with two different food rewards...
January 18, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Meng Gao, Daniel Lengersdorf, Maik C Stüttgen, Onur Güntürkün
Extinction learning is a fundamental learning process that enables organisms to continuously update knowledge about their ever-changing environment. When using visual cues as conditioned stimuli (CS), visual cortical areas of mammals are known to participate in extinction learning. The aim of the present study was to test whether similar processes can also be observed in birds. With pigeons as an animal model, we therefore investigated the role of the nidopallium frontolaterale (NFL), a key avian visual associative area, in an extinction learning task...
January 18, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Nina Dolfen, Bradley R King, Lars Schwabe, Stephan Swinnen, Genevieve Albouy
Hippocampal activity during early motor sequence learning is critical to trigger subsequent sleep-related consolidation processes. Based on previous evidence that stress-induced cortisol release modulates hippocampal activity, the current study investigates whether exposure to stress prior to motor sequence learning influences the ensuing learning and overnight consolidation process. Seventy-four healthy young adults were exposed to a stressor (i.e., the socially evaluated cold pressor test, SECPT) or a control procedure before initial training on a bimanual motor sequence learning task...
January 10, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Nasrin Hamidi, Abdollah Nozad, Hamid Sheikhkanloo Milan, Mohammad Amani
Protein phosphorylation states have a pivotal role in regulation of synaptic plasticity and long-term modulation of synaptic transmission. Serine/threonine protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) and 2A (PP2A) have a critical effect on various regulatory mechanisms involved in synaptic plasticity, learning and memory. Okadaic acid (OKA), a potent inhibitor of PP1 and PP2A, reportedly leads to cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease (AD)-like pathology. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of OKA on electrophysiological characteristics of hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) neurons in vivo...
January 7, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Katharine J Liang, Erik S Carlson
In the context of neurodegeneration and aging, the cerebellum is an enigma. Genetic markers of cellular aging in cerebellum accumulate more slowly than in the rest of the brain, and it generates unknown factors that may slow or even reverse neurodegenerative pathology in animal models of Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Cerebellum shows increased activity in early AD and Parkinson's disease (PD), suggesting a compensatory function that may mitigate early symptoms of neurodegenerative pathophysiology. Perhaps most notably, different parts of the brain accumulate neuropathological markers of AD in a recognized progression and generally, cerebellum is the last brain region to do so...
January 7, 2019: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
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