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Neuron. 2004 Sep 30;44(1):101-8.

New circuits for old memories: the role of the neocortex in consolidation.

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Department of Neurobiology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Studies of learning and memory have provided a great deal of evidence implicating hippocampal mechanisms in the initial storage of facts and events. However, until recently, there were few hints as to how and where this information was permanently stored. A recent series of rodent molecular and cellular cognition studies provide compelling evidence for the involvement of specific neocortical regions in the storage of information initially processed in the hippocampus. Areas of the prefrontal cortex, including the anterior cingulate and prelimbic cortices, and the temporal cortex show robust increases in activity specifically following remote memory retrieval. Importantly, damage to or inactivation of these areas produces selective remote memory deficits. Additionally, transgenic studies provide glimpses into the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying cortical memory consolidation. The studies reviewed here represent the first exciting steps toward the understanding of the molecular, cellular, and systems mechanisms of how the brain stores our oldest and perhaps most defining memories.

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