Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Unveil The 'Face' Of A New Memory

Date:
July 29, 2007
Source:
University of California - Irvine
Summary:
A century-old dream of neuroscientists to visualize a memory has been fulfilled, as researchers, using newly developing microscopic techniques, have captured first-time images of the changes in brain cell connections following a common form of learning.

Brain cell images. Synaptic connections in a region of rats' brains critical to learning change shape when the rodents learn.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of California - Irvine

A century-old dream of neuroscientists to visualize a memory has been fulfilled, as University of California, Irvine researchers, using newly developing microscopic techniques, have captured first-time images of the changes in brain cell connections following a common form of learning.

Related Articles


Detailed in the Journal of Neuroscience, the study shows that synaptic connections in a region of rats’ brains critical to learning change shape when the rodents learn to navigate a new, complex environment. In turn, when drugs are administered that block these changes, the rats don’t learn, confirming the essential role the shape change plays in the production of stable memory.

“This is the first time anyone has seen the physical substrate, the ‘face,’ of newly encoded memory. We have cleared a hurdle that once seemed insurmountable,” said Gary Lynch, professor of psychiatry and human behavior at UC Irvine and leader of one of the two research teams involved in the studies.

The new behavioral experiments followed a series of recent discoveries by the UC Irvine group concerning the synaptic changes responsible for long-term potentiation (LTP), a physiological effect closely related to memory storage. Those studies used brain slices from rats, maintained alive in experimental chambers, to identify chemical markers for synapses that had recently experienced the LTP effect. The new study used live animals.

Working with advanced microscopic techniques called restorative deconvolution microscopy, the UC Irvine team found that the LTP-related markers appear during learning and are associated with expanded synapses in the hippocampus. Because the size of a synapse relates to its effectiveness in transmitting messages between neurons, the new results indicate that learning improves communication between particular groups of brain cells.

The findings open the way for one of the great objectives of the life sciences: mapping the distribution of memory across brain regions. The quest for the location of memory traces, or “engrams” as they are often called, preoccupied researchers for much of the 20th century but failed because there was no way to tag synapses modified by recent learning. The new results from the UC Irvine studies remove this obstacle.

UC Irvine researchers will shortly set up a consortium of laboratories directed at producing the first maps of memory.

Vadim Fedulov, Christopher S. Rex, Danielle A. Simmons and Christine M. Gall of UC Irvine, and Linda Palmer of Carnegie Mellon University, also worked on this study, which received support from the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Irvine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Irvine. "Scientists Unveil The 'Face' Of A New Memory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070725093713.htm>.
University of California - Irvine. (2007, July 29). Scientists Unveil The 'Face' Of A New Memory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070725093713.htm
University of California - Irvine. "Scientists Unveil The 'Face' Of A New Memory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070725093713.htm (accessed February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) Washington&apos;s mayor says the District of Columbia will move forward with marijuana legalization, despite pushback from Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) A new study says marijuana is about 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins