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NMDA Receptor-Dependent Synaptic Reinforcement as a Crucial Process for Memory Consolidation

Science  10 Nov 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5494, pp. 1170-1174
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5494.1170

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Abstract

The hippocampal CA1 region is crucial for converting new memories into long-term memories, a process believed to continue for week(s) after initial learning. By developing an inducible, reversible, and CA1-specific knockout technique, we could switchN-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor function off or on in CA1 during the consolidation period. Our data indicate that memory consolidation depends on the reactivation of the NMDA receptor, possibly to reinforce site-specific synaptic modifications to consolidate memory traces. Such a synaptic reinforcement process may also serve as a cellular means by which the new memory is transferred from the hippocampus to the cortex for permanent storage.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: jtsien{at}princeton.edu

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