Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Rhythms linking episodic and procedural memory systems.

I pass on this abstract from an interesting paper by DeCoteau et al. PDF is HERE.
The striatum and hippocampus are conventionally viewed as complementary learning and memory systems, with the hippocampus specialized for fact-based episodic memory and the striatum for procedural learning and memory. Here we directly tested whether these two systems exhibit independent or coordinated activity patterns during procedural learning. We trained rats on a conditional T-maze task requiring navigational and cue-based associative learning. We recorded local field potential (LFP) activity with tetrodes chronically implanted in the caudoputamen and the CA1 field of the dorsal hippocampus during 6–25 days of training. We show that simultaneously recorded striatal and hippocampal theta rhythms are modulated differently as the rats learned to perform the T-maze task but nevertheless become highly coherent during the choice period of the maze runs in rats that successfully learned the task. Moreover, in the rats that acquired the task, the phase of the striatal–hippocampal theta coherence was modified toward a consistent antiphase relationship, and these changes occurred in proportion to the levels of learning achieved. We suggest that rhythmic oscillations, including theta-band activity, could influence not only neural processing in cortico-basal ganglia circuits but also dynamic interactions between basal ganglia-based and hippocampus-based forebrain circuits during the acquisition and performance of learned behaviors. Experience-dependent changes in coordination of oscillatory activity across brain structures thus may parallel the well known plasticity of spike activity that occurs as a function of experience.

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