Sites of Neocortical Reorganization Critical for Remote Spatial Memory

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Science  02 Jul 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5680, pp. 96-99
DOI: 10.1126/science.1098180

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The hippocampus is crucial for spatial memory formation, yet it does not store long-lasting memories. By combining functional brain imaging and region-specific neuronal inactivation in mice, we identified prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortex as critical for storage and retrieval of remote spatial memories. Imaging of activity-dependent genes also revealed an involvement of parietal and retrosplenial cortices during consolidation of remote memory. Long-term memory storage within some of these neocortical regions was accompanied by structural changes including synaptogenesis and laminar reorganization, concomitant with a functional disengagement of the hippocampus and posterior cingulate cortices. Thus, consolidation of spatial memory requires a time-dependent hippocampal-cortical dialogue, ultimately enabling widespread cortical networks to mediate effortful recall and use of cortically stored remote memories independently.

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