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J Neurosci. 2001 Sep 15;21(18):7340-8.

Spatial long-term memory is related to mossy fiber synaptogenesis.

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Departamento de Neurociencias, Instituto de Fisiologia Celular, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 04510 México.


Structural synaptic changes have been suggested to underlie long-term memory formation. In this work, we investigate if hippocampal mossy fiber synaptogenesis induced by water maze overtraining can be related with long-term spatial memory performance. Rats were trained in a Morris water maze for one to five identical daily sessions and tested for memory retrieval 1 week and 1 month after training. After the last test session, the rat brains were obtained and processed for Timm's staining to analyze mossy fiber projection. The behavioral results showed that with more training, animals showed a better performance in the memory tests, and this performance positively correlates with Timm's staining in the stratum oriens. Furthermore, with the use of the NMDA antagonist MK801 before, but not after acquisition, water maze spatial memory was impaired. Increased Timm's staining in the stratum oriens was observed in the animals treated with MK801 after acquisition but not in those treated before. Finally, we observed that mossy fiber synaptogenesis occurs mainly in the septal region of the dorsal hippocampus, supporting the idea that this anterior region is important for spatial memory. Altogether, these results suggest that mossy fiber synaptogenesis can be related with spatial long-term memory formation.

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