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REM sleep–active MCH neurons are involved in forgetting hippocampus-dependent memories

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Science  20 Sep 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6459, pp. 1308-1313
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax9238

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A brain pathway for active forgetting

Sleep affects memories via several mechanisms. Izawa et al. identified a possible new pathway in the brain: REM sleep–active hypothalamic melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH)–producing neurons, which, among others, project to the hippocampus. Surprisingly, genetic ablation of MCH neurons increased memory performance in mice. Conversely, pharmacogenetic activation of MCH neurons impaired memory. In vitro physiological experiments showed that activation of MCH fibers in hippocampal slices suppressed spiking activity of pyramidal cells. These findings indicate that the MCH pathway may become a target for memory modulation.

Science, this issue p. 1308

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