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Research reveals new brain networks critical to memory formation

Research reveals new brain networks critical to memory formation
Identification of behavior-correlated common networks. a Procedures for identifying target hubs based on common networks that correlate with behaviors in the probe test (PT). The difference FC matrix between the APA and control (Ctl) groups was calculated by two-sample t-test. The FC on (b) post-training day 1 (N = 17) and (c) post-training day 8 (N = 16) that correlated with Nshock (Pearson correlation, p < 0.05, two-tailed, uncorrected) within the common networks (p < 0.05, uncorrected) of the 1-Day and 5-Day APA. The red lines show the functional connections that positively correlate with Nshock while the blue lines show those that negatively correlate with Nshock. The line width indicates the absolute r value. The cumulative distribution of the 5000 permutation tests is shown on the right. The red bars represent the cumulative probability before reaching the real number of edges (9 connections on post-training day 1 and 5 connections on post-training day 8). Behavioral correlation (Pearson correlation, two-tailed) of the functional connections with the target hubs on (d) post-training day 1 (N = 17) and (e) post-training day 8 (N = 16). Credit: Nature Communications (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-41024-z

Researchers at The University of Queensland have identified new regions of the brain crucial to the formation of long-term memory.

Associate Professor Kai-Hsiang Chuang from the Queensland Brain Institute said the finding challenges the conventional notion that the hippocampus is central to memory consolidation, by demonstrating that a different set of brain networks play a role.

"Memory consolidation involves the reorganization of brain networks during rest and sleep," Dr. Chuang said.

"But pinpointing which area of the brain supports memory consolidation is difficult and poorly understood because the process is highly spontaneous."

The researchers used imaging (MRI) of mice to see that two types of spatial memory training resulted in distinct functional brain connections. The research was published in Nature Communications.

"We found the connections made the brain more integrated and shared a network involving the sensory cortex and subcortical areas," Dr. Chuang said.

"By identifying and manipulating the hubs within the spontaneous networks, we have shown there are more involved in memory formation than previously assumed."

Dr. Chuang said studying the mechanisms of the brain is crucial to understanding memory-related disorders like amnesia and .

"These findings not only demonstrate the causal and functional roles of the brain's network hubs in this essential cognitive process, but also imaging techniques that can be used to locate the targets," he said.

"By detecting and targeting specific within the brain's spontaneous networks, we may one day find ways to enhance or suppress and treat memory related conditions such as dementia or post-traumatic stress disorders."

More information: Zengmin Li et al, Locating causal hubs of memory consolidation in spontaneous brain network in male mice, Nature Communications (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-41024-z

Journal information: Nature Communications

Citation: Research reveals new brain networks critical to memory formation (2023, September 21) retrieved 2 December 2023 from
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