Neural correlates of expression-independent memories in the crabNeohelice

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Abstract

The neural correlates of memory have been usually examined considering that memory retrieval and memory expression are interchangeable concepts. However, our studies in the crab Neohelice (Chasmagnathus) granulata and in other memory models have shown that memory expression is not necessary for memory to be re-activated and become labile. In order to examine putative neural correlates of memory in the crab Neohelice, we contrast changes induced by training in both animal's behavior and neuronal responses in the medulla terminalis using in vivo Ca2+ imaging. Disruption of long-term memory by the amnesic agents MK-801 or scopolamine (5 μg/g) blocks the learning-induced changes in the Ca2+ responses in the medulla terminalis. Conversely, treatments that lead to an unexpressed but persistent memory (weak training protocol or scopolamine 0.1 μg/g) do not block these learning-induced neural changes. The present results reveal a set of changes in the neural activity induced by training that correlates with memory persistence but not with the probability of this memory to be expressed in the long-term. In addition, the study constitutes the first in vivo evidence in favor of a role of the medulla terminalis in learning and memory in crustaceans, and provides a physiological evidence indicating that memory persistence and the probability of memory to be expressed might involve separate components of memory traces.

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