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Spatial olfactory learning facilitates long-term depression in the hippocampus

Authors

  • Marion Agnès Emma André,

    1. Department of Neurophysiology, Medical Faculty, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany
    2. International Graduate School for Neuroscience, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany
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  • Denise Manahan-Vaughan

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neurophysiology, Medical Faculty, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany
    2. International Graduate School for Neuroscience, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany
    • Correspondence to: Denise Manahan-Vaughan, Department of Neurophysiology, Medical Faculty, Ruhr University Bochum, MA 4/150, Universitaetsstr. 150, 44780 Bochum, Germany. E-mail: denise.manahan-vaughan@rub.de

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ABSTRACT

Recently, it has emerged that visual spatial exploration facilitates synaptic plasticity at different synapses within the trisynaptic network. Particularly striking is the finding that visuospatial contexts facilitate hippocampal long-term depression (LTD), raising the possibility that this form of plasticity may be important for memory formation. It is not known whether other sensory modalities elicit similar permissive effects on LTD. Here, we explored if spatial olfactory learning facilitates LTD in the hippocampus region of freely behaving rats. Patterned afferent stimulation of the Schaffer collaterals elicited short-term depression (STD) (<1 h) of evoked responses in the Stratum radiatum of the CA1 region. Coupling of this protocol with novel exploration of a spatial constellation of olfactory cues facilitated short-term depression into LTD that lasted for over 24 h. Facilitation of LTD did not occur when animals were re-exposed 1 week later to the same odors in the same spatial constellation. Evaluation of learning behavior revealed that 1 week after the 1st odor exposure, the animals remembered the odors and their relative positions. These data support that the hippocampus can use nonvisuospatial resources, and specifically can use spatial olfactory information, to facilitate LTD and to generate spatial representations. The data also support that a tight relationship exists between the processing of spatial contextual information and the expression of LTD in the hippocampus. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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