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Learn Mem. 2013 Sep 16;20(10):553-7. doi: 10.1101/lm.029454.112.

New methods for understanding systems consolidation.

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Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22904, USA.

Erratum in

  • Learn Mem. 2013 Nov;20(11):664.


According to the standard model of systems consolidation (SMC), neocortical circuits are reactivated during the retrieval of declarative memories. This process initially requires the hippocampus. However, with the passage of time, neocortical circuits become strengthened and can eventually retrieve memory without input from the hippocampus. Although consistent with lesion data, these assumptions have been difficult to confirm experimentally. In the current review, we discuss recent methodological advances in behavioral neuroscience that are making it possible to test the basic assumptions of SMC for the first time. For example, new transgenic mice can be used to monitor the activity of individual neurons across the entire brain while optogenetic approaches provide precise control over the activity of these cells using light stimulation. These tools can be used to examine the reactivation of neocortical neurons during recent and remote memory retrieval and determine if this process requires the hippocampus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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