Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Neurons Update Remote Memories

Date:
April 17, 2009
Source:
CNRS
Summary:
It is not easy to find your student bedroom when you left university 10, 20 or 30 years ago. But once you have found it, you can easily return the next day. Indeed, by reactivating this memory, it has been strengthened and updated to provide spatial references.

A mouse having learned that the position of the platform allowed him to escape from the water in the pool was capable of returning to it one month after this learning process.
Credit: Copyright CNRS Photothèque / Alexis Chézière

It is not easy to find your student bedroom when you left university 10, 20 or 30 years ago. But once you have found it, you can easily return the next day. Indeed, by reactivating this memory, it has been strengthened and updated to provide spatial references.

To achieve this, the brain recruits new neurons that were born just a week before memorizing this information. Scientists at the Centre de recherches sur la cognition animale (CNRS, Université Toulouse 3), working in collaboration with a researcher from the Centre en neurosciences intégratives et cellulaires (CNRS, Université de Bordeaux), have recently demonstrated this process in mice.

"You enter a room you know, thinking that you understand it perfectly. You then realize the presence of new details, so your memory of this environment – called the spatial memory – is therefore updated", explains Claire Rampon, scientist at the CRCA (1). This updating of remote spatial memories, and the strengthening of those that are correct, is notably achieved thanks to the formation of new neurons during the initial visit to the room in question.

To demonstrate this, a team of researchers labeled newborn neurons in the brains of mice. These animals were trained to swim in a pool where the only way to escape from the water consisted in climbing onto a platform hidden just under the surface. When placed at random in the water, the mice tried and gradually learned the route to this platform during successive tests. A month later, the scientists replaced the animals in the same situation before observing their brains. They were then able to observe the involvement of labeled neurons that had formed a month previously in the updating and strengthening of spatial memories. The scientists also observed the brains of mice that had not learned to locate the immersed platform, and noted that a majority of these new neurons had not survived, and those which remained had not been activated.

Previous studies had demonstrated the continuous production of neurons in the hippocampus (the center of spatial memory in the brain) throughout the adult life of mammals. This study performed by scientists in the Centre de recherches sur la cognition animale (CNRS, Université Toulouse 3) and the Centre en neurosciences intégratives et cellulaires (CNRS, Université de Bordeaux) thus clarified the role of these newborn neurons in memory processes.

The authors of this paper emitted the hypothesis of the "tagging" of new, immature neurons present in the hippocampus during initial learning which, when an identical situation recurred, enabled the recruitment of these new neurons and the updating of previously-learned information.

(1) Centre de recherches sur la cognition animale (CNRS, Université Toulouse 3)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CNRS. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Trouche et al. Recruitment of adult-generated neurons into functional hippocampal networks contributes to updating and strengthening of spatial memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2009; 106 (14): 5919 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0811054106

Cite This Page:

CNRS. "New Neurons Update Remote Memories." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090408195107.htm>.
CNRS. (2009, April 17). New Neurons Update Remote Memories. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090408195107.htm
CNRS. "New Neurons Update Remote Memories." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090408195107.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) — An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) — Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." 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:
from the past week

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