Hippocampal-dependent spatial memory functions might be lateralized in rats: An approach combining gene expression profiling and reversible inactivation
ABSTRACT The hippocampus is involved in spatial memory processes, as established in a variety of species such as birds and mammals including humans. In humans, some hippocampal-dependent memory functions may be lateralized, the right hippocampus being predominantly involved in spatial navigation. In rodents, the question of possible lateralization remains open. Therefore, we first microdissected the CA1 subregion of the left and right dorsal hippocampi for analysis of mRNA expression using microarrays in rats having learnt a reference memory task in the Morris water-maze. Relative to untrained controls, 623 genes were differentially expressed in the right hippocampus, against only 74 in the left hippocampus, in the rats that had learnt the hidden platform location. Thus, in the right hippocampus, 299 genes were induced, 324 were repressed, and about half of them participate in signaling and transport, metabolism, and nervous system functions. In addition, most differentially expressed genes associated with spatial learning have been previously related to synaptic plasticity and memory. We then subjected rats to unilateral (left or right) or bilateral reversible functional inactivations in the dorsal hippocampus; lidocaine was infused either before each acquisition session or before retrieval of a reference spatial memory in the Morris water maze. We found that after drug-free acquisition, right or bilateral lidocaine inactivation (vs. left, or bilateral phosphate buffered saline (PBS) infusions) of the dorsal hippocampus just before a delayed (24 h) probe trial impaired performance. Conversely, left or bilateral hippocampus inactivation (vs. right, or bilateral PBS infusions) before each acquisition session weakened performance during a delayed, drug-free probe trial. Our data confirm a functional association between transcriptional activity within the dorsal hippocampus and spatial memory in the rat. Further, they suggest that there could be a leftward bias of hippocampal functions in engram formation or information transfer, and a rightward bias in spatial memory storage/retrieval processes.
SourceAvailable from: Nathalie Holz[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Converging evidence emphasizes the role of an interaction between monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) genotype, environmental adversity, and sex in the pathophysiology of aggression. The present study aimed to clarify the impact of this interaction on neural activity in aggression-related brain systems. Functional magnetic resonance imaging was performed in 125 healthy adults from a high-risk community sample followed since birth. DNA was genotyped for the MAOA-VNTR (variable number of tandem repeats). Exposure to childhood life stress (CLS) between the ages of 4 and 11 years was assessed using a standardized parent interview, aggression by the Youth/Young Adult Self-Report between the ages of 15 and 25 years, and the VIRA-R (Vragenlijst Instrumentele En Reactieve Agressie) at the age of 15 years. Significant interactions were obtained between MAOA genotype, CLS, and sex relating to amygdala, hippocampus, and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) response, respectively. Activity in the amygdala and hippocampus during emotional face-matching increased with the level of CLS in male MAOA-L, while decreasing in male MAOA-H, with the reverse pattern present in females. Findings in the opposite direction in the ACC during a flanker NoGo task suggested that increased emotional activity coincided with decreased inhibitory control. Moreover, increasing amygdala activity was associated with higher Y(A)SR aggression in male MAOA-L and female MAOA-H carriers. Likewise, a significant association between amygdala activity and reactive aggression was detected in female MAOA-H carriers. The results point to a moderating role of sex in the MAOA× CLS interaction for intermediate phenotypes of emotional and inhibitory processing, suggesting a possible mechanism in conferring susceptibility to violence-related disorders.Cerebral Cortex 10/2014; DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhu249 · 8.31 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Many brain regions exhibit lateral differences in structure and function, and also incorporate new neurons in adulthood, thought to function in learning and in the formation of new memories. However, the contribution of new neurons to hemispheric differences in processing is unknown. The present study combines cellular, behavioral, and physiological methods to address whether 1) new neuron incorporation differs between the brain hemispheres, and 2) the degree to which hemispheric lateralization of new neurons correlates with behavioral and physiological measures of learning and memory. The songbird provides a model system for assessing the contribution of new neurons to hemispheric specialization because songbird brain areas for vocal processing are functionally lateralized and receive a continuous influx of new neurons in adulthood. In adult male zebra finches, we quantified new neurons in the caudomedial nidopallium (NCM), a forebrain area involved in discrimination and memory for the complex vocalizations of individual conspecifics. We assessed song learning and recorded neural responses to song in NCM. We found significantly more new neurons labeled in left than in right NCM; moreover, the degree of asymmetry in new neuron numbers was correlated with the quality of song learning and strength of neuronal memory for recently heard songs. In birds with experimentally impaired song quality, the hemispheric difference in new neurons was diminished. These results suggest that new neurons may contribute to an allocation of function between the hemispheres that underlies the learning and processing of complex signals.PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e108929. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0108929 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Left-right asymmetries have likely evolved to make optimal use of bilaterian nervous systems; however, little is known about the synaptic and circuit mechanisms that support divergence of function between equivalent structures in each hemisphere. Here we examined whether lateralized hippocampal memory processing is present in mice, where hemispheric asymmetry at the CA3-CA1 pyramidal neuron synapse has recently been demonstrated, with different spine morphology, glutamate receptor content, and synaptic plasticity, depending on whether afferents originate in the left or right CA3. To address this question, we used optogenetics to acutely silence CA3 pyramidal neurons in either the left or right dorsal hippocampus while mice performed hippocampus-dependent memory tasks. We found that unilateral silencing of either the left or right CA3 was sufficient to impair short-term memory. However, a striking asymmetry emerged in long-term memory, wherein only left CA3 silencing impaired performance on an associative spatial long-term memory task, whereas right CA3 silencing had no effect. To explore whether synaptic properties intrinsic to the hippocampus might contribute to this left-right behavioral asymmetry, we investigated the expression of hippocampal long-term potentiation. Following the induction of long-term potentiation by high-frequency electrical stimulation, synapses between CA3 and CA1 pyramidal neurons were strengthened only when presynaptic input originated in the left CA3, confirming an asymmetry in synaptic properties. The dissociation of hippocampal long-term memory function between hemispheres suggests that memory is routed via distinct left-right pathways within the mouse hippocampus, and provides a promising approach to help elucidate the synaptic basis of long-term memory.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2014; 111(42). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1405648111 · 9.81 Impact Factor