Energy Metabolism in Long-Term Memory Formation and Enhancement

Speaker: C. M. Alberini Presented at: NINS 2015 Cognition & Brain Health

Summary

Studies on cognitive functions, including memory formation and storage, have been heavily biased toward the characterization of the functional role of neurons. However, other cell types in addition to neurons are abundant in the brain: astrocytes, together with microglia and oligodendrocytes, intercalate and cooperate with neurons to drive brain functions. My lab studies the molecular mechanisms underlying long-term memory formation, and in the last few years we have been investigating the contribution of astrocytic mechanisms to long-term memory consolidation, the process that stabilizes a newly formed, labile memory.

Inspired by the hypothesis proposed by Pellerin and Magistretti in 1994 suggesting that activity-dependent processes utilize a lactate-mediated metabolic coupling between astrocytes and neurons, we used the inhibitory avoidance (IA) learning task in rats to investigate metabolic mechanisms in long-term memory formation