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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2013 Dec 2;369(1633):20130152. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0152. Print 2014 Jan 5.

Functional MRI of long-term potentiation: imaging network plasticity.

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Instituto de Neurociencias, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Universidad Miguel Hernández, , Sant Joan d'Alacant 03550, Spain.


Neurons are able to express long-lasting and activity-dependent modulations of their synapses. This plastic property supports memory and conveys an extraordinary adaptive value, because it allows an individual to learn from, and respond to, changes in the environment. Molecular and physiological changes at the cellular level as well as network interactions are required in order to encode a pattern of synaptic activity into a long-term memory. While the cellular mechanisms linking synaptic plasticity to memory have been intensively studied, those regulating network interactions have received less attention. Combining high-resolution fMRI and in vivo electrophysiology in rats, we have previously reported a functional remodelling of long-range hippocampal networks induced by long-term potentiation (LTP) of synaptic plasticity in the perforant pathway. Here, we present new results demonstrating an increased bilateral coupling in the hippocampus specifically supported by the mossy cell commissural/associational pathway in response to LTP. This fMRI-measured increase in bilateral connectivity is accompanied by potentiation of the corresponding polysynaptically evoked commissural potential in the contralateral dentate gyrus and depression of the inactive convergent commissural pathway to the ipsilateral dentate. We review these and previous findings in the broader context of memory consolidation.


dentate gyrus; fMRI; long-term potentiation; mossy cells; neurophysiology; prefrontal cortex

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