Periodic Reporting for period 1 - VALENCE-REPLAY (Disentangling amygdala contributions to replay-mediated, hippocampal-dependent memory consolidation)
Reporting period: 2017-10-15 to 2019-10-14
This project investigated how the emotional content of wake experience influences memory processing in periods of sleep. Two brain structures, the hippocampus and amygdala, are indispensable brain areas for memory formation and emotional processing, respectively. Their interaction during sleep remains is under-studied. Studies that begin to examine this issue have focused on rodent behavioral tasks with negative valence such as fear conditioning while much less has been done in the context of positive valence.
Here the electrophysiological underpinnings of interaction between the ventral hippocampus and the basolateral amygdala were investigated using a novel behavioral paradigm, that allows to study offline periods after animals are exposed to a positive valence stimulus.
Results suggest that the two brain structures extend their interactions into periods of rest supporting a mechanistic role for ventral hippocampus and amygdala in memory consolidation processes. While results are of basic nature, they highlight the significance of sleep in emotional memory processing. Further investigations will be needed to examine how these results might relate to sleep and mental well-being in humans.
The developed behavioral paradigm has also been successfully put to use in testing novel technologies for recording from hundreds of cells at the same time from 1024 channels. The results were communicated in scientific meetings and a manuscript has been published in the biorxiv preprint server.
This action has successfully supported high-quality training of the recipient in state-of-the-art neuroscience techniques. The training has paved the way for the transfer of acquired knowledge to less conventional animal models. The action has formed the basis for further work and grant writing using the acquired techniques to study closely related research questions in memory and learning. The fellow was able to further develop his student supervision skills by supervising undergraduate and postgraduate level students. The grantee received training and experience in project and budget management but also provided the valuable opportunity to attend advanced competitive courses and conferences in the field of memory and learning. The fellow extended his scientific network through collaborations within the EU one of which leading to successfully testing of novel brain electrode interfaces with high channel count (1024 simultaneously channels) while other collaborations are already in place focused on knowledge sharing on advanced electrophysiological analysis techniques.