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Genetic tags reveal secrets of memories' staying power in mice
Date:2/21/2008

ferently shaped spines, the fact that they are altered in various forms of mental retardation, like Fragile-X syndrome, suggests a critical importance in mental function.

The researchers discovered the synapses that received the AMPA receptors with memory were limited to the mushroom type. The mushroom spines also figured prominently in the same neurons when the fear conditioning was reversed by repeatedly exposing the animals to the feared situation without getting shocked -- a procedure called extinction learning. This indicated that the same neurons activated when a fear is learned are also activated when it is lost. The surge in mushroom spine capture of the receptors appeared within hours of learning and was gone after a few days, but appeared to be critical for cementing the memory.


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Contact: Jules Asher
NIMHpress@nih.gov
301-443-4536
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health
Source:Eurekalert  

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