Systems consolidation revisited, but not revised: The promise and limits of optogenetics in the study of memory

Oliver Hardt, Lynn Nadel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

Episodic memories (in humans) and event-like memories (in non-human animals) require the hippocampus for some time after acquisition, but at remote points seem to depend more on cortical areas instead. Systems consolidation refers to the process that promotes this reorganization of memory. Various theoretical frameworks accounting for this process have been proposed, but clear evidence favoring one or another of these positions has been lacking. Addressing this issue, a recent study deployed some of the most advanced neurobiological technologies – optogenetics and calcium imaging – and provided high resolution, precise observations regarding brain systems involved in recent and remote contextual fear memories. We critically review these findings within their historical context and conclude that they do not resolve the debate concerning systems consolidation. This is because the relevant question concerning the quality of memory at recent and remote time points has not been answered: Does the memory reorganization taking place during systems consolidation result in changes to the content of memory?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-59
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Volume680
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 27 2018

Keywords

  • Contextual fear conditioning
  • Episodic memory
  • Hippocampus
  • Optogenetics
  • Systems consolidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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