Memory processes in medial temporal lobe: experimental, theoretical and computational approaches

Cutsuridis, Vassilis and Yoshida, Motoharu (2017) Memory processes in medial temporal lobe: experimental, theoretical and computational approaches. Frontiers in Neuroscience . ISSN 1662-4548

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The medial temporal lobe (MTL) includes the hippocampus, amygdala and parahippocampal regions, and is crucial for episodic and spatial memory. MTL memory function consists of distinct processes such as encoding, consolidation and retrieval. Encoding is the process by which perceived information is transformed into a memory trace. After encoding, memory traces are stabilized by consolidation. Memory retrieval (recall) refers to the process by which memory traces are reactivated to access information previously encoded and stored in the brain. Although underlying neural mechanisms supporting these distinct functional stages remain largely unknown, recent studies have indicated that distinct oscillatory dynamics, specific neuron types, synaptic plasticity and neuromodulation, play a central role. The theta rhythm is believed to be crucial in the encoding and retrieval of memories. Experimental and computational studies indicate that precise timing of principal cell firing in the hippocampus, relative to the theta rhythm, underlies encoding and retrieval processes. On the other hand, sharp-wave ripples have been implicated in the consolidation through the “replay” of memories in compressed time scales.

The neural circuits and cell types supporting memory processes in the MTL areas have only recently been delineated using experimental approaches such as optogenetics, juxtacellular recordings, and optical imaging. Principal (excitatory) cells are crucial for encoding, storing and retrieving memories at the cellular level, whereas inhibitory interneurons provide the temporal structures for orchestrating the activities of neuronal populations of principal cells by regulating synaptic integration and timing of action potential generation of principal cells as well as the generation and maintenance of network oscillations (rhythms). In addition, neuromodulators such as acetylcholine alter dynamical properties of neurons and synapses, and modulate oscillatory state and rules of synaptic plasticity and their levels might tune MTL to specific memory processes.
The research topic offers a snapshot of the current state of-the-art on how memories are encoded, consolidated, stored and retrieved in MTL structures. Accepted papers to the research topic include studies (experimental or computational) focusing on the structure and function of neural circuits, their cellular components (principal cell and inhibitory interneurons) and their properties, synaptic plasticity rules involved in these memory processes, network oscillations such as theta, gamma and sharp-wave ripples, and the role of neuromodulators in health and in disease (Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia).

Additional Information:THIS ARTICLE IS PART OF THE RESEARCH TOPIC Memory Processes in Medial Temporal Lobe: Experimental, Theoretical and Computational Approaches
Keywords:medial temporal lobe, memory, computational modeling
Subjects:B Subjects allied to Medicine > B140 Neuroscience
G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G730 Neural Computing
Divisions:College of Science > School of Computer Science
ID Code:27754
Deposited On:29 Jun 2017 12:20

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