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How the Hippocampus Orchestrates Memory Consolidation

Published in Memory.

Summary: Study reveals how the CA2 region of the hippocampus plays a key role in long-term memory consolidation.

Source: RIKEN

A brain region in mice that plays a key role in coordinating the playback process that consolidates memories during sleep has been identified by RIKEN neuroscientists. This finding could have implications for neurological disorders in people such as schizophrenia.

Activities we do while awake produce short-term memories that are subsequently consolidated into long-term storage within a brain structure called the hippocampus. This process has been linked to distinctive brain wave patterns known as sharp-wave ripple activity in the CA1 region of the hippocampus, which triggers selective reactivation of neural circuits associated with recent experiences.

A team led by Thomas McHugh of the RIKEN Center for Brain Science has been interested in how another hippocampal region, CA2, contributes to sharp-wave ripple activity in CA1. CA2 is thought to be mainly involved in forming memories related to social interactions.