A Time to Remember: The Role of Circadian Clocks in Learning and Memory

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Abstract

The circadian system has pronounced influence on learning and memory, manifesting as marked changes in memory acquisition and recall across the day. From a mechanistic perspective, the majority of studies have investigated mammalian hippocampal-dependent learning and memory, as this system is highly tractable. The hippocampus plays a major role in learning and memory, and has the potential to integrate circadian information in many ways, including information from local, independent oscillators, and through circadian modulation of neurogenesis, synaptic remodeling, intracellular cascades, and epigenetic regulation of gene expression. These local processes are combined with input from other oscillatory systems to synergistically augment hippocampal rhythmic function. This overview presents an account of the current state of knowledge on circadian interactions with learning and memory circuitry and provides a framework for those interested in further exploring these interactions.

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