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J Neurosci. 2019 Sep 4;39(36):7049-7060. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2499-18.2019. Epub 2019 Jun 19.

Learning Induces Transient Upregulation of Brevican in the Auditory Cortex during Consolidation of Long-Term Memories.

Author information

Departments of Systems Physiology of Learning.
Neurochemistry and Molecular Biology, Leibniz-Institute for Neurobiology, D-39118 Magdeburg, Germany, and.
Neurochemistry and Molecular Biology, Leibniz-Institute for Neurobiology, D-39118 Magdeburg, Germany, and
Department of Biology, Animal Physiology, Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, D-91058 Erlangen, Germany.
Departments of Systems Physiology of Learning,


It is a daily challenge for our brains to establish new memories via learning while providing stable storage of remote memories. In the adult vertebrate brain, bimodal regulation of the extracellular matrix (ECM) may regulate the delicate balance of learning-dependent plasticity and stable memory formation. Here, we trained adult male mice in a cortex-dependent auditory discrimination task and measured the abundance of ECM proteins brevican (BCN) and tenascin-R over the course of acquisition learning, consolidation, and long-term recall in two learning-relevant brain regions; the auditory cortex and hippocampus. Although early training led to a general downregulation of total ECM proteins, successful retrieval correlated with a region-specific and transient upregulation of BCN levels in the auditory cortex. No other parameter such as arousal or stress could account for the transient and region-specific BCN upregulation. This performance-dependent biphasic regulation of the ECM may assist transient plasticity to facilitate initial learning and subsequently promote the long-term consolidation of memory.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The capacity to learn throughout life and at the same time guarantee lifelong storage and remote recall of established memories is a daily challenge. Emerging evidence suggests an important function of the extracellular matrix (ECM), a conglomerate of secreted proteins and polysaccharides in the adult vertebrate brain. We trained mice in an auditory long-term memory task and measured learning-related dynamic changes of the ECM protein brevican. Specifically, in the auditory cortex brevican is downregulated during initial learning and subsequently upregulated in exclusively those animals that have learned the task, suggesting a performance-dependent regulation in the service of memory consolidation and storage. Our data may provide novel therapeutic implications for several neuropsychiatric diseases involving dysregulation of the ECM.


auditory cortex; behavior; extracellular matrix; hippocampus; learning; long-term memory

[Available on 2020-03-04]

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