Dr. John F. Disterhoft, Northwestern University
Talk Title: Neuronal changes in forebrain during acquisition and after consolidation of trace eyeblink conditioning
Brain & Behaviour Seminar Series 2015-2016
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Abstract: Trace eyeblink conditioning is a forebrain-dependent declarative memory task. Involvement of several regions involved in mediating this task have been explored during learning and after one month memory consolidation. Somatosensory barrel cortex is required for learning the whisker vibration signaled task. CA1 neurons are involved during and after initial learning; surprisingly, they show even more robust activation after consolidation, at the time point when hippocampus is not required for normal performance. Prefrontal cortex subregions show a reorganization in which caudal anterior cingulate is involved initially but prelimbic cortex is dramatically engaged after memory consolidation. Finally, single neuron activity in perirhinal cortex (PR), lateral entorhinal cortex (latEC), and dentate gyrus (DG) that serve as afferents to the hippocampus proper has not been described in this task. Neuronal signals representing paired stimuli are transformed in a step-wise process from individual stimuli in PR, to enhanced stimulus plus trace-bridging activity in lateral EC and DG early in learning, well before any behavioral indication that acquisition has occurred. These activity patterns are dramatically blunted after memory consolidation. Temporal lobe neurons are involved in stimulus association but not in controlling the behavior proper. These studies are demonstrating the complex engagement of different forebrain regions in acquiring and storing the memory for this "simple" associative task.
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