Reactivation & Consolidation


The ventral striatum in off-line processing: ensemble reactivation during sleep and modulation by hippocampal ripples

C. M. A. Pennartz and E. Lee and J. Verheul and P. Lipa and C. A. Barnes and B. L. McNaughton

J Neurosci  24  6446-56  (2004)

Previously it has been shown that the hippocampus and neocortex can spontaneously reactivate ensemble activity patterns during post-behavioral sleep and rest periods. Here we examined whether such reactivation also occurs in a subcortical structure, the ventral striatum, which receives a direct input from the hippocampal formation and has been implicated in guidance of consummatory and conditioned behaviors. During a reward-searching task on a T-maze, flanked by sleep and rest periods, parallel recordings were made from ventral striatal ensembles while EEG signals were derived from the hippocampus. Statistical measures indicated a significant amount of reactivation in the ventral striatum. In line with hippocampal data, reactivation was especially prominent during post-behavioral slow-wave sleep, but unlike the hippocampus, no decay in pattern recurrence was visible in the ventral striatum across the first 40 min of post-behavioral rest. We next studied the relationship between ensemble firing patterns in ventral striatum and hippocampal ripples-sharp waves, which have been implicated in pattern replay. Firing rates were significantly modulated in close temporal association with hippocampal ripples in 25% of the units, showing a marked transient enhancement in the average response profile. Strikingly, ripple-modulated neurons in ventral striatum showed a clear reactivation, whereas nonmodulated cells did not. These data suggest, first, the occurrence of pattern replay in a subcortical structure implied in the processing and prediction of reward and, second, a functional linkage between ventral striatal reactivation and a specific type of high-frequency population activity associated with hippocampal replay.


Relationships between hippocampal sharp waves, ripples, and fast gamma oscillation: influence of dentate and entorhinal cortical activity

D. Sullivan and J. Csicsvari and K. Mizuseki and S. Montgomery and K. Diba and G. Buzsáki

J Neurosci  31  8605-16  (2011)

Hippocampal sharp waves (SPWs) and associated fast ("ripple") oscillations (SPW-Rs) in the CA1 region are among the most synchronous physiological patterns in the mammalian brain. Using two-dimensional arrays of electrodes for recording local field potentials and unit discharges in freely moving rats, we studied the emergence of ripple oscillations (140-220 Hz) and compared their origin and cellular-synaptic mechanisms with fast gamma oscillations (90-140 Hz). We show that (1) hippocampal SPW-Rs and fast gamma oscillations are quantitatively distinct patterns but involve the same networks and share similar mechanisms; (2) both the frequency and magnitude of fast oscillations are positively correlated with the magnitude of SPWs; (3) during both ripples and fast gamma oscillations the frequency of network oscillation is higher in CA1 than in CA3; and (4) the emergence of CA3 population bursts, a prerequisite for SPW-Rs, is biased by activity patterns in the dentate gyrus and entorhinal cortex, with the highest probability of ripples associated with an "optimum" level of dentate gamma power. We hypothesize that each hippocampal subnetwork possesses distinct resonant properties, tuned by the magnitude of the excitatory drive.


Reactivation of behavioral activity during sharp waves: a computational model for two stage hippocampal dynamics

C. Molter and N. Sato and Y. Yamaguchi

Hippocampus  17  201-9  (2007)

The rodent hippocampus is known to exhibit two very distinctive patterns of activity: theta with place selective cells firing during exploratory behavior and sharp waves (SPWs) associated with collective discharges in the CA3 during slow wave sleep (SWS), inactivity while awake and consummatory behavior. A great deal of evidence has demonstrated that the cells activated during SPWs events are representative of previous behavioral activity, which suggests an important functional role of off-line learning and consolidation for these SPWs events. Supporting this view, forward, and more recently, reverse replay of linear track behavioral sequences have been reported in rodent's hippocampal place cells during SPWs. We demonstrate here that these patterns of reactivation can be successfully reproduced by relying on a computational model of the hippocampus with theta phase precession and synaptic plasticity during theta rhythm. Two mechanisms are proposed to initiate SPWs events: random reactivation in the presence of rapid, irregular subthreshold inputs and place selective cell activations. In 2D navigation computational experiments, rather than observing the perfect replay of experienced pathways, new pathways "experienced during immobility" emerge. This suggests a neural mechanism for shortcut navigation.


Dopaminergic neurons promote hippocampal reactivation and spatial memory persistence

C. G. McNamara and Á. Tejero-Cantero and S. Trouche and N. Campo-Urriza and D. Dupret

Nat Neurosci  17  1658-60  (2014)

We found that optogenetic burst stimulation of hippocampal dopaminergic fibers from midbrain neurons in mice exploring novel environments enhanced the reactivation of pyramidal cell assemblies during subsequent sleep/rest. When applied during spatial learning of new goal locations, dopaminergic photostimulation improved the later recall of neural representations of space and stabilized memory performance. These findings reveal that midbrain dopaminergic neurons promote hippocampal network dynamics associated with memory persistence.


Selective suppression of hippocampal ripples impairs spatial memory

G. Girardeau and K. Benchenane and S. I. Wiener and G. Buzsáki and M. B. Zugaro

Nat Neurosci  12  1222-3  (2009)

Sharp wave-ripple (SPW-R) complexes in the hippocampus-entorhinal cortex are believed to be important for transferring labile memories from the hippocampus to the neocortex for long-term storage. We found that selective elimination of SPW-Rs during post-training consolidation periods resulted in performance impairment in rats trained on a hippocampus-dependent spatial memory task. Our results provide evidence for a prominent role of hippocampal SPW-Rs in memory consolidation.


Sleep consolidation of interfering auditory memories in starlings

T. P. Brawn and H. C. Nusbaum and D. Margoliash

Psychol Sci  24  439-47  (2013)

Memory consolidation has been described as a process to strengthen newly formed memories and to stabilize them against interference from similar learning experiences. Sleep facilitates memory consolidation in humans, improving memory performance and protecting against interference encountered after sleep. The European starling, a songbird, has also manifested sleep-dependent memory consolidation when trained on an auditory-classification task. Here, we examined how memory for two similar classification tasks is consolidated across waking and sleep in starlings. We demonstrated for the first time that the learning of each classification reliably interferes with the retention of the other classification across waking retention but that sleep enhances and stabilizes the memory of both classifications even after performance is impaired by interference. These observations demonstrate that sleep consolidation enhances retention of interfering experiences, facilitating opportunistic daytime learning and the subsequent formation of stable long-term memories.


Constructing realistic engrams: poststimulus activity of hippocampus and dorsal striatum predicts subsequent episodic memory

A. Ben-Yakov and Y. Dudai

J Neurosci  31  9032-42  (2011)

Encoding of real-life episodic memory commonly involves integration of information as the episode unfolds. Offline processing immediately following event offset is expected to play a role in encoding the episode into memory. In this study, we examined whether distinct human brain activity time-locked to the offset of short narrative audiovisual episodes could predict subsequent memory for the gist of the episodes. We found that a set of brain regions, most prominently the bilateral hippocampus and the bilateral caudate nucleus, exhibit memory-predictive activity time-locked to the stimulus offset. We propose that offline activity in these regions reflects registration to memory of integrated episodes.


Hippocampal replay in the awake state: a potential substrate for memory consolidation and retrieval

M. F. Carr and S. P. Jadhav and L. M. Frank

Nat Neurosci  14  147-53  (2011)

The hippocampus is required for the encoding, consolidation and retrieval of event memories. Although the neural mechanisms that underlie these processes are only partially understood, a series of recent papers point to awake memory replay as a potential contributor to both consolidation and retrieval. Replay is the sequential reactivation of hippocampal place cells that represent previously experienced behavioral trajectories and occurs frequently in the awake state, particularly during periods of relative immobility. Awake replay may reflect trajectories through either the current environment or previously visited environments that are spatially remote. The repetition of learned sequences on a compressed time scale is well suited to promote memory consolidation in distributed circuits beyond the hippocampus, suggesting that consolidation occurs in both the awake and sleeping animal. Moreover, sensory information can influence the content of awake replay, suggesting a role for awake replay in memory retrieval.


Coherent phasic excitation during hippocampal ripples

N. Maier and A. Tejero-Cantero and A. L. Dorrn and J. Winterer and P. S. Beed and G. Morris and R. Kempter and J. F. A. Poulet and C. Leibold and D. Schmitz

Neuron  72  137-52  (2011)

High-frequency hippocampal network oscillations, or "ripples," are thought to be involved in episodic memory. According to current theories, memory traces are represented by assemblies of principal neurons that are activated during ripple-associated network states. Here we performed in vivo and in vitro experiments to investigate the synaptic mechanisms during ripples. We discovered postsynaptic currents that are phase-locked to ripples and coherent among even distant CA1 pyramidal neurons. These fast currents are consistent with excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) as they are observed at the equilibrium potential of Cl(-), and they display kinetics characteristic of EPSCs. Furthermore, they survived after intracellular blockade of GABAergic transmission and are effective to regulate the timing of action potentials. In addition, our data show a progressive synchronization of phasic excitation and inhibition during the course of ripples. Together, our results demonstrate the presence of phasic excitation during ripples reflecting an exquisite temporal coordination of assemblies of active pyramidal cells.


Mesopontine median raphe regulates hippocampal ripple oscillation and memory consolidation

D. V. Wang and H.-J. Yau and C. J. Broker and J.-H. Tsou and A. Bonci and S. Ikemoto

Nat Neurosci  18  728-35  (2015)

Sharp wave-associated field oscillations (200 Hz) of the hippocampus, referred to as ripples, are believed to be important for consolidation of explicit memory. Little is known about how ripples are regulated by other brain regions. We found that the median raphe region (MnR) is important for regulating hippocampal ripple activity and memory consolidation. We performed in vivo simultaneous recording in the MnR and hippocampus of mice and found that, when a group of MnR neurons was active, ripples were absent. Consistently, optogenetic stimulation of MnR neurons suppressed ripple activity and inhibition of these neurons increased ripple activity. Notably, using a fear conditioning procedure, we found that photostimulation of MnR neurons interfered with memory consolidation. Our results demonstrate a critical role of the MnR in regulating ripples and memory consolidation.


Play it again: reactivation of waking experience and memory

J. O'Neill and B. Pleydell-Bouverie and D. Dupret and J. Csicsvari

Trends Neurosci  33  220-9  (2010)

Episodic and spatial memories each involve the encoding of complex associations in hippocampal neuronal circuits. Such memory traces could be stabilised from short- to long-term forms by consolidation processes involving the 'reactivation' of the original network firing patterns during sleep and rest. Waking experience can be replayed in many different brain areas, but an important role for the hippocampus lies in the organisation of the 'reactivation' process. Emerging evidence suggests that sharp wave/ripple (SWR) events in the hippocampus could coordinate the reactivation of memory traces and direct their reinstatement in cortical circuits. Although the mechanisms remain uncertain, there is a growing consensus that such SWR-directed reactivation of brain-wide memory traces could underlie memory consolidation.


Coordinated reactivation of distributed memory traces in primate neocortex

K. L. Hoffman and B. L. McNaughton

Science  297  2070-3  (2002)

Conversion of new memories into a lasting form may involve the gradual refinement and linking together of neural representations stored widely throughout neocortex. This consolidation process may require coordinated reactivation of distributed components of memory traces while the cortex is "offline," i.e., not engaged in processing external stimuli. Simultaneous neural ensemble recordings from four sites in the macaque neocortex revealed such coordinated reactivation. In motor, somatosensory, and parietal cortex (but not prefrontal cortex), the behaviorally induced correlation structure and temporal patterning of neural ensembles within and between regions were preserved, confirming a major tenet of the trace-reactivation theory of memory consolidation.


On the dynamic nature of the engram: evidence for circuit-level reorganization of object memory traces following reactivation

B. D. Winters and M. C. Tucci and D. L. Jacklin and J. M. Reid and J. Newsome

J Neurosci  31  17719-28  (2011)

Research has implicated the perirhinal cortex (PRh) in several aspects of object recognition memory. The specific role of the hippocampus (HPC) remains controversial, but its involvement in object recognition may pertain to processing contextual information in relation to objects rather than object representation per se. Here we investigated the roles of the PRh and HPC in object memory reconsolidation using the spontaneous object recognition task for rats. Intra-PRh infusions of the protein synthesis inhibitor anisomycin immediately following memory reactivation prevented object memory reconsolidation. Similar deficits were observed when a novel object or a salient contextual change was introduced during the reactivation phase. Intra-HPC infusions of anisomycin, however, blocked object memory reconsolidation only when a contextual change was introduced during reactivation. Moreover, disrupting functional interaction between the HPC and PRh by infusing anisomycin unilaterally into each structure in opposite hemispheres also impaired reconsolidation when reactivation was done in an altered context. These results show for the first time that the PRh is critical for reconsolidation of object memory traces and provide insight into the dynamic process of object memory storage; the selective requirement for hippocampal involvement following reactivation in an altered context suggests a substantial circuit level object trace reorganization whereby an initially PRh-dependent object memory becomes reliant on both the HPC and PRh and their interaction. Such trace reorganization may play a central role in reconsolidation-mediated memory updating and could represent an important aspect of lingering consolidation processes proposed to underlie long-term memory modulation and stabilization.


Coordinated memory replay in the visual cortex and hippocampus during sleep

D. Ji and M. A. Wilson

Nat Neurosci  10  100-7  (2007)

Sleep replay of awake experience in the cortex and hippocampus has been proposed to be involved in memory consolidation. However, whether temporally structured replay occurs in the cortex and whether the replay events in the two areas are related are unknown. Here we studied multicell spiking patterns in both the visual cortex and hippocampus during slow-wave sleep in rats. We found that spiking patterns not only in the cortex but also in the hippocampus were organized into frames, defined as periods of stepwise increase in neuronal population activity. The multicell firing sequences evoked by awake experience were replayed during these frames in both regions. Furthermore, replay events in the sensory cortex and hippocampus were coordinated to reflect the same experience. These results imply simultaneous reactivation of coherent memory traces in the cortex and hippocampus during sleep that may contribute to or reflect the result of the memory consolidation process.


Reinstatement of associative memories in early visual cortex is signaled by the hippocampus

S. E. Bosch and J. F. M. Jehee and G. Fernández and C. F. Doeller

J Neurosci  34  7493-500  (2014)

The cortical reinstatement hypothesis of memory retrieval posits that content-specific cortical activity at encoding is reinstated at retrieval. Evidence for cortical reinstatement was found in higher-order sensory regions, reflecting reactivation of complex object-based information. However, it remains unclear whether the same detailed sensory, feature-based information perceived during encoding is subsequently reinstated in early sensory cortex and what the role of the hippocampus is in this process. In this study, we used a combination of visual psychophysics, functional neuroimaging, multivoxel pattern analysis, and a well controlled cued recall paradigm to address this issue. We found that the visual information human participants were retrieving could be predicted by the activation patterns in early visual cortex. Importantly, this reinstatement resembled the neural pattern elicited when participants viewed the visual stimuli passively, indicating shared representations between stimulus-driven activity and memory. Furthermore, hippocampal activity covaried with the strength of stimulus-specific cortical reinstatement on a trial-by-trial level during cued recall. These findings provide evidence for reinstatement of unique associative memories in early visual cortex and suggest that the hippocampus modulates the mnemonic strength of this reinstatement.


Fine-tuned coupling between human parahippocampal ripples and sleep spindles

Z. Clemens and M. Mölle and L. Eross and R. Jakus and G. Rásonyi and P. Halász and J. Born

Eur J Neurosci  33  511-20  (2011)

Sleep-associated memory consolidation is thought to rely on coordinated information transfer between the hippocampus and neocortex brought about during slow wave sleep (SWS) by distinct local field potential oscillations. Specifically, findings in animals have led to the concept that ripples originating from hippocampus combine with spindles to provide a fine-tuned temporal frame for a persistent transfer of memory-related information to the neocortex. The present study focused on characterizing the temporal relationship between parahippocampal ripple activity (80-140 Hz) and spindles recorded from frontal, parietal and parahippocampal cortices in 12 epilepsy patients implanted with parahippocampal foramen ovale electrodes. Overall, parietal and parahippocampal spindles showed closer relationships to parahippocampal ripple activity than frontal spindles, with the latter following parietal and parahippocampal spindles at a variable delay of up to 0.5 s. On a timescale of seconds, ripple activity showed a continuous increase before the peak of parietal and parahippocampal spindles, and decreased thereafter. At a fine timescale of milliseconds, parahippocampal ripple activity was tightly phase-locked to the troughs of these spindles. The demonstration of spindle phase-locked ripple activity in humans is consistent with the idea of a temporally fine-tuned hippocampus-to-neocortex transfer of information taking place during SWS.


Hippocampal CA3 output is crucial for ripple-associated reactivation and consolidation of memory

T. Nakashiba and D. L. Buhl and T. J. McHugh and S. Tonegawa

Neuron  62  781-7  (2009)

A widely held memory consolidation theory posits that memory of events and space is initially stored in the hippocampus (HPC) in a time-limited manner and is consolidated in the neocortex for permanent storage. Although posttraining HPC lesions result in temporally graded amnesia, the precise HPC circuits and mechanisms involved in remote memory storage remain poorly understood. To investigate the role of the trisynaptic pathway in the consolidation process we employed the CA3-TeTX transgenic mouse, in which CA3 output can be specifically and inducibly controlled. We found that posttraining blockade of CA3 output for up to 4 weeks impairs the consolidation of contextual fear memory. Moreover, in vivo hippocampal recordings revealed a reduced intrinsic frequency of CA1 ripples and a significant decrease in the experience-dependent, ripple-associated coordinated reactivation of CA1 cell pairs. Collectively, these results suggest that the posttraining integrity of the trisynaptic pathway and the ripple-associated reactivation of hippocampal memory engram are crucial for memory consolidation.


Reactivation, replay, and preplay: how it might all fit together

L. Buhry and A. H. Azizi and S. Cheng

Neural Plast  2011  203462  (2011)

Sequential activation of neurons that occurs during "offline" states, such as sleep or awake rest, is correlated with neural sequences recorded during preceding exploration phases. This so-called reactivation, or replay, has been observed in a number of different brain regions such as the striatum, prefrontal cortex, primary visual cortex and, most prominently, the hippocampus. Reactivation largely co-occurs together with hippocampal sharp-waves/ripples, brief high-frequency bursts in the local field potential. Here, we first review the mounting evidence for the hypothesis that reactivation is the neural mechanism for memory consolidation during sleep. We then discuss recent results that suggest that offline sequential activity in the waking state might not be simple repetitions of previously experienced sequences. Some offline sequential activity occurs before animals are exposed to a novel environment for the first time, and some sequences activated offline correspond to trajectories never experienced by the animal. We propose a conceptual framework for the dynamics of offline sequential activity that can parsimoniously describe a broad spectrum of experimental results. These results point to a potentially broader role of offline sequential activity in cognitive functions such as maintenance of spatial representation, learning, or planning.


Ripples make waves: binding structured activity and plasticity in hippocampal networks

J. H. L. P. Sadowski and M. W. Jones and J. R. Mellor

Neural Plast  2011  960389  (2011)

Establishing novel episodic memories and stable spatial representations depends on an exquisitely choreographed, multistage process involving the online encoding and offline consolidation of sensory information, a process that is largely dependent on the hippocampus. Each step is influenced by distinct neural network states that influence the pattern of activation across cellular assemblies. In recent years, the occurrence of hippocampal sharp wave ripple (SWR) oscillations has emerged as a potentially vital network phenomenon mediating the steps between encoding and consolidation, both at a cellular and network level by promoting the rapid replay and reactivation of recent activity patterns. Such events facilitate memory formation by optimising the conditions for synaptic plasticity to occur between contingent neural elements. In this paper, we explore the ways in which SWRs and other network events can bridge the gap between spatiomnemonic processing at cellular/synaptic and network levels in the hippocampus.


Unbalanced excitability underlies offline reactivation of behaviorally activated neurons

M. Mizunuma and H. Norimoto and K. Tao and T. Egawa and K. Hanaoka and T. Sakaguchi and H. Hioki and T. Kaneko and S. Yamaguchi and T. Nagano and N. Matsuki and Y. Ikegaya

Nat Neurosci  17  503-5  (2014)

Hippocampal sharp waves (SWs)/ripples represent the reactivation of neurons involved in recently acquired memory and are crucial for memory consolidation. By labeling active cells with fluorescent protein under the control of an immediate-early gene promoter, we found that neurons that had been activated while mice explored a novel environment were preferentially reactivated during spontaneous SWs in hippocampal slices in vitro. During SWs, the reactivated neurons received strong excitatory synaptic inputs as opposed to a globally tuned network balance between excitation and inhibition.


Learning-induced plasticity regulates hippocampal sharp wave-ripple drive

G. Girardeau and A. Cei and M. Zugaro

J Neurosci  34  5176-83  (2014)

Hippocampal sharp wave-ripples (SPW-Rs) and associated place-cell reactivations are crucial for spatial memory consolidation during sleep and rest. However, it remains unclear how learning and consolidation requirements influence and regulate subsequent SPW-R activity. Indeed, SPW-R activity has been observed not only following complex behavioral tasks, but also after random foraging in familiar environments, despite markedly different learning requirements. Because transient increases in SPW-R rates have been reported following training on memory tasks, we hypothesized that SPW-R activity following learning (but not routine behavior) could involve specific regulatory processes related to ongoing consolidation. Interfering with ripples would then result in a dynamic compensatory response only when initial memory traces required consolidation. Here we trained rats on a spatial memory task, and showed that subsequent sleep periods where ripple activity was perturbed by timed electrical stimulation were indeed characterized by increased SPW-R occurrence rates compared with control sleep periods where stimulations were slightly delayed in time and did not interfere with ripples. Importantly, this did not occur following random foraging in a familiar environment. We next showed that this dynamic response was abolished following injection of an NMDA receptor blocker (MK-801) before, but not after training. Our results indicate that NMDA receptor-dependent processes occurring during learning, such as network "tagging" and plastic changes, regulate subsequent ripple-mediated consolidation of spatial memory during sleep.


Ripples in the medial temporal lobe are relevant for human memory consolidation

N. Axmacher and C. E. Elger and J. Fell

Brain  131  1806-17  (2008)

High-frequency oscillations (ripples) have been described in the hippocampus and rhinal cortex of both animals and human subjects and have been linked to replay and consolidation of previously acquired information. More specifically, studies in rodents suggested that ripples are generated in the hippocampus and are then transferred into the rhinal cortex, and that they occur predominantly during negative half waves of neocortical slow oscillations. Recordings in human epilepsy patients used either microelectrodes or foramen ovale electrodes; it is thus unclear whether macroelectrodes, which are routinely used for pre-surgical investigations, allow the recording of ripples as well. Furthermore, no direct link between ripples and behavioural performance has yet been established. Here, we recorded intracranial electroencephalogram with macroelectrodes from the hippocampus and rhinal cortex contralateral to the seizure onset zone in 11 epilepsy patients during a memory consolidation task while they were having an afternoon 'nap', i.e. a sleep period of approximately 1 h duration. We found that ripples could reliably be detected both in the hippocampus and in the rhinal cortex and had a similar frequency composition to events recorded previously with microelectrodes in humans. Results from cross-correlation analysis revealed that hippocampal events were closely locked to rhinal events and were consistent with findings on transmission of ripples from the hippocampus into the rhinal cortex. Furthermore, hippocampal ripples were significantly locked to the phase of hippocampal delta band activity, which might provide a mechanism for the reported phase-locking to neocortical slow oscillations. Ripples occurred with the highest incidence during periods when subjects lay awake during the nap time. Finally, we found that the number of rhinal, but not hippocampal, ripples was correlated with the number of successfully recalled items (post-nap) learned prior to sleep. These data confirm previous recordings in animals and humans, but move beyond them in several respects: they are the first recordings of ripples in humans during a cognitive task and suggest that ripples are indeed related to behavioural performance; furthermore, they propose a mechanism for phase-locking of ripples to neocortical slow waves via phase coupling to hippocampal delta activity; finally, they show that ripples can be recorded reliably with standard macroelectrodes in the human brain.


Stereotypical spatiotemporal activity patterns during slow-wave activity in the neocortex

T. Fucke and D. Suchanek and M. P. Nawrot and Y. Seamari and D. H. Heck and A. Aertsen and C. Boucsein

J Neurophysiol  106  3035-44  (2011)

Alternating epochs of activity and silence are a characteristic feature of neocortical networks during certain sleep cycles and deep states of anesthesia. The mechanism and functional role of these slow oscillations (<1 Hz) have not yet been fully characterized. Experimental and theoretical studies show that slow-wave oscillations can be generated autonomously by neocortical tissue but become more regular through a thalamo-cortical feedback loop. Evidence for a functional role of slow-wave activity comes from EEG recordings in humans during sleep, which show that activity travels as stereotypical waves over the entire brain, thought to play a role in memory consolidation. We used an animal model to investigate activity wave propagation on a smaller scale, namely within the rat somatosensory cortex. Signals from multiple extracellular microelectrodes in combination with one intracellular recording in the anesthetized animal in vivo were utilized to monitor the spreading of activity. We found that activity propagation in most animals showed a clear preferred direction, suggesting that it often originated from a similar location in the cortex. In addition, the breakdown of active states followed a similar pattern with slightly weaker direction preference but a clear correlation to the direction of activity spreading, supporting the notion of a wave-like phenomenon similar to that observed after strong sensory stimulation in sensory areas. Taken together, our findings support the idea that activity waves during slow-wave sleep do not occur spontaneously at random locations within the network, as was suggested previously, but follow preferred synaptic pathways on a small spatial scale.


Hippocampal-cortical interaction during periods of subcortical silence

N. K. Logothetis and O. Eschenko and Y. Murayama and M. Augath and T. Steudel and H. C. Evrard and M. Besserve and A. Oeltermann

Nature  491  547-53  (2012)

Hippocampal ripples, episodic high-frequency field-potential oscillations primarily occurring during sleep and calmness, have been described in mice, rats, rabbits, monkeys and humans, and so far they have been associated with retention of previously acquired awake experience. Although hippocampal ripples have been studied in detail using neurophysiological methods, the global effects of ripples on the entire brain remain elusive, primarily owing to a lack of methodologies permitting concurrent hippocampal recordings and whole-brain activity mapping. By combining electrophysiological recordings in hippocampus with ripple-triggered functional magnetic resonance imaging, here we show that most of the cerebral cortex is selectively activated during the ripples, whereas most diencephalic, midbrain and brainstem regions are strongly and consistently inhibited. Analysis of regional temporal response patterns indicates that thalamic activity suppression precedes the hippocampal population burst, which itself is temporally bounded by massive activations of association and primary cortical areas. These findings suggest that during off-line memory consolidation, synergistic thalamocortical activity may be orchestrating a privileged interaction state between hippocampus and cortex by silencing the output of subcortical centres involved in sensory processing or potentially mediating procedural learning. Such a mechanism would cause minimal interference, enabling consolidation of hippocampus-dependent memory.


Dynamics of dendritic spines in the mouse auditory cortex during memory formation and memory recall

K. E. Moczulska and J. Tinter-Thiede and M. Peter and L. Ushakova and T. Wernle and B. Bathellier and S. Rumpel

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A  110  18315-20  (2013)

Long-lasting changes in synaptic connections induced by relevant experiences are believed to represent the physical correlate of memories. Here, we combined chronic in vivo two-photon imaging of dendritic spines with auditory-cued classical conditioning to test if the formation of a fear memory is associated with structural changes of synapses in the mouse auditory cortex. We find that paired conditioning and unpaired conditioning induce a transient increase in spine formation or spine elimination, respectively. A fraction of spines formed during paired conditioning persists and leaves a long-lasting trace in the network. Memory recall triggered by the reexposure of mice to the sound cue did not lead to changes in spine dynamics. Our findings provide a synaptic mechanism for plasticity in sound responses of auditory cortex neurons induced by auditory-cued fear conditioning; they also show that retrieval of an auditory fear memory does not lead to a recapitulation of structural plasticity in the auditory cortex as observed during initial memory consolidation.


Awake reactivation predicts memory in humans

B. P. Staresina and A. Alink and N. Kriegeskorte and R. N. Henson

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A  110  21159-64  (2013)

How are new experiences transformed into memories? Recent findings have shown that activation in brain regions involved in the initial task performance reemerges during postlearning rest, suggesting that "offline activity" might be important for this transformation. It is unclear, however, whether such offline activity indeed reflects reactivation of individual learning experiences, whether the amount of event-specific reactivation is directly related to later memory performance, and what brain regions support such event-specific reactivation. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to assess whether event-specific reactivation occurs spontaneously during an active, postlearning delay period in the human brain. Applying representational similarity analysis, we found that successful recall of individual study events was predicted by the degree of their endogenous reactivation during the delay period. Within the medial temporal lobe, this reactivation was observed in the entorhinal cortex. Beyond the medial temporal lobe, event-specific reactivation was found in the retrosplenial cortex. Controlling for the levels of blood oxygen level-dependent activation and the serial position during encoding, the data suggest that offline reactivation might be a key mechanism for bolstering episodic memory beyond initial study processes. These results open a unique avenue for the systematic investigation of reactivation and consolidation of episodic memories in humans.


Cholinergic manipulations bidirectionally regulate object memory destabilization

M. L. Stiver and D. L. Jacklin and K. A. Mitchnick and N. Vicic and J. Carlin and M. O'Hara and B. D. Winters

Learn Mem  22  203-14  (2015)

Consolidated memories can become destabilized and open to modification upon retrieval. Destabilization is most reliably prompted when novel information is present during memory reactivation. We hypothesized that the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) plays an important role in novelty-induced memory destabilization because of its established involvement in new learning. Accordingly, we investigated the effects of cholinergic manipulations in rats using an object recognition paradigm that requires reactivation novelty to destabilize object memories. The muscarinic receptor antagonist scopolamine, systemically or infused directly into the perirhinal cortex, blocked this novelty-induced memory destabilization. Conversely, systemic oxotremorine or carbachol, muscarinic receptor agonists, administered systemically or intraperirhinally, respectively, mimicked the destabilizing effect of novel information during reactivation. These bidirectional effects suggest a crucial influence of ACh on memory destabilization and the updating functions of reconsolidation. This is a hitherto unappreciated mnemonic role for ACh with implications for its potential involvement in cognitive flexibility and the dynamic process of long-term memory storage.