The newly discovered brain cell sheds light on the formation of memory

Summary: Scientists have discovered new neurons in the hippocampus that are activated when the brain creates new memories.

A source: Aarhus University

Researchers have long recognized that memory is represented by changes in a part of the brain called the hippocampus.

One of the well-known changes in hippocampal memory is the presence of sharp waves (SWR). These are short, high-frequency electrical events that occur in the hippocampus and are believed to reflect the main event taking place in the brain in episodic memory. This type of memory refers to episodes in a person’s life, such as childhood, remembering the first meeting with a partner, or remembering an old cell phone number.

However, it is not well understood what happens when SRWs form in the brain’s famous sea-like structures – the hippocampus.

Now a new study sheds light on the presence of a type of neuron in the hippocampus mouse that could be key to a better understanding of episodic memory.

Marco Capogna, a professor of biomedicine at Aarhus University, and Wen-Hsien Howe, an assistant professor, contributed to the discovery of a new neuron associated with sharp waves and memory.

The study was recently published in a scientific journal neuron In collaboration with Stanford University Professor Ivan Soltesz.

May be impaired in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Research refers to a new type of neuron in the hippocampus – or nerve cell, which determines its functional role in the brain, reveals its connections to other nerve cells and areas of the brain, and promotes the understanding of brain circuits based on rapid brain waves. memory.

“We found that this new type of neuron is most active when the animal wakes up during SWR – but quietly – or when it is fast asleep. It can usually occur in the form of a specific dream when we dream, ”says Professor Marco Capogna. he says.

Because of this dichotomous activity, this novel type of neuron is called theta off waves (TORO).

The study is relevant for professionals in the field of memory, hippocampus and neural circuits. However, it can also draw the attention of those interested in how the brain works in the memory process.

See also

“How are TORO neurons so sensitive to SWR? The paper tries to answer this question by describing the functional interactions of TORO neurons with other neurons and brain regions. This method is called schematic mapping. “We’ve found that it is activated by neurons and blocked by input from other areas of the brain, such as the septum,” said Marco Capogna.

It shows a picture of a woman's head and brain
Now a new study sheds light on the presence of a type of neuron in the hippocampus mouse that could be key to a better understanding of episodic memory. Image in public domain

“Furthermore, the study finds that TOROs are neurotransmitters that inhibit GABA-producing neurons. They send their results locally – like most GABAergic neurons – inside the hippocampus, but also project and block other brain areas outside the hippocampus, such as the septum and cortex. TORO neurons transmit SWR information to the brain and report a memory event, ”he explains.

The team monitored neuron activity using electrophysiology – a technique that measures activity against time and uses an image to determine activity by measuring changes in the calcium signal inside neurons.

The next important step is to show the causal link between the activity of TORO nerve cells and memory. In addition, it will be interesting to document the inhibition of TORO neurons in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which lead to memory loss, and the formation of sharp waves.

It’s about the memory research message

Author: Lynn Ronn
A source: Aarhus University
The connection: Line Rønn – Aarhus University
Photo: Image in public domain

Original study: The results appear within neuron

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.