Consolidation of memory involves transfer of encoded information into a durable neural representation, but how this is transacted in the nervous system remains elusive. It has been proposed that memory consolidation is subserved by formation of a cell assembly due to coincidence of pre-and post-synaptic activity therein after learning. To capture such off-line changes, manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MEMRI) was used to trace brain activity during the memory consolidation period. Male Wistar rats were trained on the one-trial inhibitory avoidance task and received intraventricular infusion of manganese ion shortly after training. The MEMRI taken 1 day later showed that brain areas including the prelimbic, insular and anterior pirifrom cortices of the learning group had significantly lower memory-related MEMRI signal than those of the control group. The functional network was revealed by correlating the MEMRI signals among regions followed by graph theoretical analysis. Learning sculpted the non-discriminative connectivity among many brain regions in the controls into a network in the trained rats with selected connectivity among regions implicated in inhibitory avoidance learning. The network could be organized into three clusters presumably subserving different functions. The results suggest that the brain prunes excessive functional connectivity in a cell assembly to consolidate new memory.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)