Imaging systems level consolidation of novel associate memories: A longitudinal neuroimaging study

Brain Imaging and Modeling Section, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-1407, USA.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.36). 11/2009; 50(2):826-36. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.11.053
Source: PubMed


Previously, a standard theory of systems level memory consolidation was developed to describe how memory recall becomes independent of the medial temporal memory system. More recently, an extended consolidation theory was proposed that predicts seven changes in regional neural activity and inter-regional functional connectivity. Using longitudinal event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging of an associate memory task, we simultaneously tested all predictions and additionally tested for consolidation-related changes in recall of associate memories at a sub-trial temporal resolution, analyzing cue, delay and target periods of each trial separately. Results consistent with the theoretical predictions were observed though two inconsistent results were also obtained. In particular, while medial temporal recall related delay period activity decreased with consolidation as predicted, visual cue activity increased for consolidated memories. Though the extended theory of memory consolidation is largely supported by our study, these results suggest that the extended theory needs further refinement and the medial temporal memory system has multiple, temporally distinct roles in associate memory recall. Neuroimaging analysis at a sub-trial temporal resolution, as used here, may further clarify the role of the hippocampal complex in memory consolidation.

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