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Functional interaction between a prefrontal and a thalamic nucleus for the consolidation of spatial memories

Project description

Insight into memory consolidation

Conversion of events into long-lasting memory, a process known as memory consolidation, implicates many regions of the brain. Recent evidence indicates that an interplay between the laterodorsal (LD) nucleus of the thalamus and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is central to memory consolidation. Scientists of the EU-funded METHA project plan to investigate the LD-ACC circuit and in particular how neurons in these regions process acquired information during the training to consolidate and recall them at a later time. Results will provide a better understanding of memory and related pathologies such as post-traumatic stress disorder and dementia.

Objective

Memory consolidation is the process by which memories are converted into a long-lasting form allowing its recall later in time. It has been shown that memory consolidation is supported by the coordinated activation of a network of brain regions. In this regard, the hippocampus-cortical communication has been largely studied. Recent evidences point to the thalamus as a key region mediating this dialogue. In particular, the Laterodorsal Nucleus of the Thalamus (LD) activity has been shown to be essential for remote memory recall. Moreover, the LD shows high anatomical and functional connectivity with the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC) which is a key structure for consolidation and remote memory recall. These data suggest that this LD-ACC pathway may be crucial during memory consolidation. The LD is known to harbor Head Direction (HD) cells which are neurons that fire to specific orientations of the animal head. Therefore, we hypothesized that the activity of the LD-ACC circuit represents spatial information that is required for recall of contextual fear memory. The present project was designed to test this hypothesis using a multi-level approach, that is unique in the field. First, we will address the causal role of the LD-ACC pathway in the recall of fear memory, by modulating its activity using optogenetics. Then we will investigate how LD cells, and LD-ACC projecting cells, are processing acquired information during the training to consolidate and recall them at a remote time point by directly visualizing the activity of the LD during acquisition and recall of contextual conditioned fear. The expected results will have a significant impact in the memory and in the spatial navigation field, and are of key importance to better understand memory and related pathologies such as post-traumatic stress disorder and dementia.

Coordinator

ECOLE SUPERIEURE DE PHYSIQUE ET DECHIMIE INDUSTRIELLES DE LA VILLE DEPARIS
Net EU contribution
€ 196 707,84
Address
RUE VAUQUELIN 10
75231 Paris
France

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Region
Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
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Total cost
€ 196 707,84