Dentate gyrus - the gateway to memory? (DSpike)


Main funder

Funder's project number: 316966


Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 480 000,00


Funding program


Project timetable

Project start date: 01/09/2018

Project end date: 31/08/2022


Summary

The formation and storage of new memories of the daily events is important for our personality, functionality and social interactions. Memory formation is thought to be governed by the hippocampus together with the neocortex. Deficiencies in this memory system lead to progressive decline in the quality of everyday life. It is known that the output areas of the hippocampal system have a critical role in the storage of new memories and neocortical areas are important for cognition and emotions overall. Less is known of how the saturation of the neuronal network connections is prevented. That is, there should be a mechanism by which the efficiency of functional synaptic connections could be reduced so that they remain plastic for new experiences. We propose that a very short event of intense cellular activation of the input part of the hippocampus occurring during sleep, the dentate spike (DS), could be the basis of this mechanism. In addition, while new neurons are born in the hippocampus also in adults, we propose that new neurons would have a critical role in the formation of DSs. To test this hypothesis, normal rats and rats in which newborn neurons have been removed will perform learning tasks and DSs will be recorded. Furthermore, functional connectivity between hippocampus and cortex will be determined in those groups with functional magnetic resonance imaging and DS recording. Also, the efficiency of hippocampal synaptic connections will be increased experimentally with optogenetic and neurophysiological techniques and the role of DSs in their reduction will be determined. Finally, the large-scale interactions of the neurons activated during DSs will be determined with optical imaging. The experiments would reveal a potentially new mechanism for retaining the plasticity of the hippocampal system throughout our life.


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Last updated on 2021-06-10 at 08:54