Learning & Memory

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 1072-0502 / 1549-5485
Published by: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (10.1101)
Total articles ≅ 1,954
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Latest articles in this journal

Reto Bisaz, Benjamin Bessières, Janelle M. Miranda, Alessio Travaglia,
Published: 16 August 2021
Learning & Memory, Volume 28, pp 300-306; https://doi.org/10.1101/lm.052621.120

Episodic memories formed during infancy are rapidly forgotten, a phenomenon associated with infantile amnesia, the inability of adults to recall early-life memories. In both rats and mice, infantile memories, although not expressed, are actually stored long term in a latent form. These latent memories can be reinstated later in life by certain behavioral reminders or by artificial reactivations of neuronal ensembles activated at training. Whether the recovery of infantile memories is limited by developmental age, maternal presence, or contingency of stimuli presentation remains to be determined. Here, we show that the return of inhibitory avoidance memory in rats following a behavioral reactivation consisting of an exposure to the context (conditioned stimuli [CS]) and footshock (unconditioned stimuli [US]) given in a temporally unpaired fashion, is evident immediately after US and is limited by the developmental age at which the reactivations are presented; however, it is not influenced by maternal presence or the time interval between training and reactivation. We conclude that one limiting factor for infantile memory reinstatement is developmental age, suggesting that a brain maturation process is necessary to allow the recovery of a “lost” infantile memory.
Jun Yokose, William D. Marks, Naoki Yamamoto, Sachie K. Ogawa, Takashi Kitamura
Published: 16 August 2021
Learning & Memory, Volume 28, pp 319-328; https://doi.org/10.1101/lm.052589.120

Temporal association learning (TAL) allows for the linkage of distinct, nonsynchronous events across a period of time. This function is driven by neural interactions in the entorhinal cortical–hippocampal network, especially the neural input from the pyramidal cells in layer III of medial entorhinal cortex (MECIII) to hippocampal CA1 is crucial for TAL. Successful TAL depends on the strength of event stimuli and the duration of the temporal gap between events. Whereas it has been demonstrated that the neural input from pyramidal cells in layer II of MEC, referred to as Island cells, to inhibitory neurons in dorsal hippocampal CA1 controls TAL when the strength of event stimuli is weak, it remains unknown whether Island cells regulate TAL with long trace periods as well. To understand the role of Island cells in regulating the duration of the learnable trace period in TAL, we used Pavlovian trace fear conditioning (TFC) with a 60-sec long trace period (long trace fear conditioning [L-TFC]) coupled with optogenetic and chemogenetic neural activity manipulations as well as cell type-specific neural ablation. We found that ablation of Island cells in MECII partially increases L-TFC performance. Chemogenetic manipulation of Island cells causes differential effectiveness in Island cell activity and leads to a circuit imbalance that disrupts L-TFC. However, optogenetic terminal inhibition of Island cell input to dorsal hippocampal CA1 during the temporal association period allows for long trace intervals to be learned in TFC. These results demonstrate that Island cells have a critical role in regulating the duration of time bridgeable between associated events in TAL.
Julia Carbone, Carlos Bibián, Patrick Reischl, Jan Born, Cecilia Forcato, Susanne Diekelmann
Published: 16 August 2021
Learning & Memory, Volume 28, pp 307-318; https://doi.org/10.1101/lm.052787.120

According to the active system consolidation theory, memory consolidation during sleep relies on the reactivation of newly encoded memory representations. This reactivation is orchestrated by the interplay of sleep slow oscillations, spindles, and theta, which are in turn modulated by certain neurotransmitters like GABA to enable long-lasting plastic changes in the memory store. Here we asked whether the GABAergic system and associated changes in sleep oscillations are functionally related to memory reactivation during sleep. We administered the GABAA agonist zolpidem (10 mg) in a double-blind placebo-controlled study. To specifically focus on the effects on memory reactivation during sleep, we experimentally induced such reactivations by targeted memory reactivation (TMR) with learning-associated reminder cues presented during post-learning slow-wave sleep (SWS). Zolpidem significantly enhanced memory performance with TMR during sleep compared with placebo. Zolpidem also increased the coupling of fast spindles and theta to slow oscillations, although overall the power of slow spindles and theta was reduced compared with placebo. In an uncorrected exploratory analysis, memory performance was associated with slow spindle responses to TMR in the zolpidem condition, whereas it was associated with fast spindle responses in placebo. These findings provide tentative first evidence that GABAergic activity may be functionally implicated in memory reactivation processes during sleep, possibly via its effects on slow oscillations, spindles and theta as well as their interplay.
Tony J. Cunningham, Ryan Bottary, Dan Denis, Jessica D. Payne
Published: 16 August 2021
Learning & Memory, Volume 28, pp 291-299; https://doi.org/10.1101/lm.053412.121

Prospective memory involves setting an intention to act that is maintained over time and executed when appropriate. Slow wave sleep (SWS) has been implicated in maintaining prospective memories, although which SWS oscillations most benefit this memory type remains unclear. Here, we investigated SWS spectral power correlates of prospective memory. Healthy young adult participants completed three ongoing tasks in the morning or evening. They were then given the prospective memory instruction to remember to press “Q” when viewing the words “horse” or “table” when repeating the ongoing task after a 12-h delay including overnight, polysomnographically recorded sleep or continued daytime wakefulness. Spectral power analysis was performed on recorded sleep EEG. Two additional groups were tested in the morning or evening only, serving as time-of-day controls. Participants who slept demonstrated superior prospective memory compared with those who remained awake, an effect not attributable to time-of-day of testing. Contrary to prior work, prospective memory was negatively associated with SWS. Furthermore, significant increases in spectral power in the delta-theta frequency range (1.56 Hz–6.84 Hz) during SWS was observed in participants who failed to execute the prospective memory instructions. Although sleep benefits prospective memory maintenance, this benefit may be compromised if SWS is enriched with delta–theta activity.
Emily T. Cowan, Anli A. Liu, Simon Henin, Sanjeev Kothare, Orrin Devinsky, Lila Davachi
Published: 16 August 2021
Learning & Memory, Volume 28, pp 329-340; https://doi.org/10.1101/lm.053438.121

Research has shown that sleep is beneficial for the long-term retention of memories. According to theories of memory consolidation, memories are gradually reorganized, becoming supported by widespread, distributed cortical networks, particularly during postencoding periods of sleep. However, the effects of sleep on the organization of memories in the hippocampus itself remains less clear. In a 3-d study, participants encoded separate lists of word–image pairs differing in their opportunity for sleep-dependent consolidation. Pairs were initially studied either before or after an overnight sleep period, and were then restudied in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan session. We used multivariate pattern similarity analyses to examine fine-grained effects of consolidation on memory representations in the hippocampus. We provide evidence for a dissociation along the long axis of the hippocampus that emerges with consolidation, such that representational patterns for object–word memories initially formed prior to sleep become differentiated in anterior hippocampus and more similar, or overlapping, in posterior hippocampus. Differentiation in anterior hippocampal representations correlated with subsequent behavioral performance. Furthermore, representational overlap in posterior hippocampus correlated with the duration of intervening slow wave sleep. Together, these results demonstrate that sleep-dependent consolidation promotes the reorganization of memory traces along the long axis of the hippocampus.
Arturo Hernández-Matias, Federico Bermúdez-Rattoni,
Published: 16 August 2021
Learning & Memory, Volume 28, pp 270-276; https://doi.org/10.1101/lm.052720.120

It has been reported that during chemotherapy treatment, some patients can experience nausea before pharmacological administration, suggesting that contextual stimuli are associated with the nauseating effects. There are attempts to reproduce with animal models the conditions under which this phenomenon is observed to provide a useful paradigm for studying contextual aversion learning and the brain structures involved. This manuscript assessed the hippocampus involvement in acquiring and maintaining long-term conditioned place avoidance (CPA) induced by a gastric malaise-inducing agent, LiCl. Our results demonstrate that a reliable induction of CPA is possible after one acquisition trial. However, CPA establishment requires a 20-min confinement in the compartment associated with LiCl administration. Interestingly, both hippocampal regions seem to be necessary for CPA establishment; nonetheless, inactivation of the ventral hippocampus results in a reversion of avoidance and turns it into preference. Moreover, we demonstrate that activation of dorsal/ventral hippocampal NMDA receptors after CS–US association is required for long-term CPA memory maintenance.
Tyler W. Dunn,
Published: 16 August 2021
Learning & Memory, Volume 28, pp 277-290; https://doi.org/10.1101/lm.052639.120

A more thorough description of the changes in synaptic strength underlying synaptic plasticity may be achieved with quantal resolution measurements at individual synaptic sites. Here, we demonstrate that by using a membrane targeted genetic calcium sensor, we can measure quantal synaptic events at the individual synaptic sites of Aplysia sensory neuron to motor neuron synaptic connections. These results show that synaptic strength is not evenly distributed between all contacts in these cultures, but dominated by multiquantal sites of synaptic contact, likely clusters of individual synaptic sites. Surprisingly, most synaptic contacts were not found opposite presynaptic varicosities, but instead at areas of pre- and postsynaptic contact with no visible thickening of membranes. The release probability, quantal size, and quantal content can be measured over days at individual synaptic contacts using this technique. Homosynaptic depression was accompanied by a reduction in release site probability, with no evidence of individual synaptic site silencing over the course of depression. This technique shows promise in being able to address outstanding questions in this system, including determining the synaptic changes that maintain long-term alterations in synaptic strength that underlie memory.
Sasha L. Fulton, , Tobias Atkin, Ryan Norris, , , , , Jeremy D. Coplan
Published: 16 August 2021
Learning & Memory, Volume 28, pp 341-347; https://doi.org/10.1101/lm.053468.121

Protein kinase Mζ (PKMζ) maintains long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term memory through persistent increases in kinase expression. Early-life adversity is a precursor to adult mood and anxiety disorders, in part, through persistent disruption of emotional memory throughout life. Here we subjected 10- to 16-wk-old male bonnet macaques to adversity by a maternal variable-foraging demand paradigm. We then examined PKMζ expression in their ventral hippocampi as 7- to 12-yr-old adults. Quantitative immunohistochemistry reveals decreased PKMζ in dentate gyrus, CA1, and subiculum of subjects who had experienced early-life adversity due to the unpredictability of maternal care. Adult animals with persistent decrements of PKMζ in ventral hippocampus express timid rather than confrontational responses to a human intruder. Persistent down-regulation of PKMζ in the ventral hippocampus might reduce the capacity for emotional memory maintenance and contribute to the long-lasting emotional effects of early-life adversity.
Ryan J. Brady, Jennifer M. Mickelberg, Robert R. Hampton
Learning & Memory, Volume 28, pp 260-269; https://doi.org/10.1101/lm.053422.121

The prefrontal cortex is larger than would be predicted by body size or visual cortex volume in great apes compared with monkeys. Because prefrontal cortex is critical for working memory, we hypothesized that recognition memory tests would engage working memory in orangutans more robustly than in rhesus monkeys. In contrast to working memory, the familiarity response that results from repetition of an image is less cognitively taxing and has been associated with nonfrontal brain regions. Across three experiments, we observed a striking species difference in the control of behavior by these two types of memory. First, we found that recognition memory performance in orangutans was controlled by working memory under conditions in which this memory system plays little role in rhesus monkeys. Second, we found that unlike the case in monkeys, familiarity was not involved in recognition memory performance in orangutans, shown by differences with monkeys across three different measures. Memory in orangutans was not improved by use of novel images, was always impaired by a concurrent cognitive load, and orangutans did not accurately identify images seen minutes ago. These results are surprising and puzzling, but do support the view that prefrontal expansion in great apes favored working memory. At least in orangutans, increased dependence on working memory may come at a cost in terms of the availability of familiarity.
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