Fabricio Ballarini

University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires F.D., Argentina

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Publications (6)34.29 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Retrograde interference (RI) is a type of amnesia in which a new learning experience can impair the expression of a previous one. It has been studied in several types of memories for over a century. Here, we aimed to study in the long-term memory (LTM) formation of an object-in-context task, defined as the recognition of a familiar object in a context different to that in which it was previously encountered. We trained rats with two sample trials, each taking place in a different context in association with different objects. Test sessions were performed 24 h later, to evaluate LTM for both object-context pairs using separate groups of trained rats. Furthermore, given the involvement of hippocampus (Hp) and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in several recognition memories, we also analyzed the participation of these structures in the LTM formation of this task by the local infusion of muscimol. Our results show that object-in-context LTM formation is sensitive to RI by a different either familiar or novel object-context pair trial, experienced 1h later. This interference occurs in a restricted temporal window and works on the LTM consolidation phase, leaving intact short-term memory expression. The second sample trial did not affect the object recognition part of the memory. Besides, muscimol treatment before the second sample trial blocks its object-in-context LTM and restores the first sample trial memory. We hypothesized that LTM-RI amnesia is probably caused by resources or cellular machinery competition in these brain regions when they are engaged in memory formation of the traces. In sum, when two different object-in-context memory traces are being processed, the second trace interferes with the consolidation of the first one requiring mPFC and CA1 dorsal Hp activation. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Hippocampus 07/2014; · 5.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The synaptic tagging and capture theory (STC) was postulated by Frey and Morris in 1997 and provided a strong framework to explain how to achieve synaptic specificity and persistence of electrophysiological-induced plasticity changes. Ten years later, the same argument was applied on learning and memory models to explain the formation of long-term memories, resulting in the behavioral tagging hypothesis (BT). These hypotheses are able to explain how a weak event that induces transient changes in the brain can establish long-lasting phenomena through a tagging and capture process. In this framework, it was postulated that the weak event sets a tag that captures plasticity-related proteins/products (PRPs) synthesized by an independent strong event. The tagging and capture processes exhibit symmetry, and therefore, PRPs can be captured if they are synthesized either before or after the setting of the tag. In summary, the hypothesis provides a wide framework that gives a solid explanation of how lasting changes occur and how the interaction between different events leads to promotion, reinforcement, or impairment of such changes. In this chapter, we will summarize the postulates of STC hypothesis, the common features between synaptic plasticity and memory, as well as a detailed compilation of the findings supporting the existence of BT process. At the end, we pose some questions related to BT mechanism and LTM formation, which probably will be answered in the near future.
    Progress in molecular biology and translational science 01/2014; 122C:391-423. · 2.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Education is the most traditional means with formative effect on the human mind, learning and memory being its fundamental support. For this reason, it is essential to find different strategies to improve the studentś performance. Based on previous work, we hypothesized that a novel experience could exert an enhancing effect on learning and memory within the school environment. Here we show that novel experience improved the memory of literary or graphical activities when it is close to these learning sessions. We found memory improvements in groups of students who had experienced a novel science lesson 1 hour before or after the reading of a story, but not when these events were 4 hours apart. Such promoting effect on long-term memory (LTM) was also reproduced with another type of novelty (a music lesson) and also after another type of learning task (a visual memory). Interestingly, when the lesson was familiar, it failed to enhance the memory of the other task. Our results show that educationally relevant novel events experienced during normal school hours can improve LTM for tasks/activities learned during regular school lessons. This effect is restricted to a critical time window around learning and is particularly dependent on the novel nature of the associated experience. These findings provide a tool that could be easily transferred to the classroom by the incorporation of educationally novel events in the school schedule as an extrinsic adjuvant of other information acquired some time before or after it. This approach could be a helpful tool for the consolidation of certain types of topics that generally demand a great effort from the children.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(6):e66875. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recently encoded information can be lost in the presence of new information, a process called 'retrograde interference'. Retrograde interference has been extensively described for more than a century; however, little is known about its underlying mechanisms. Different approaches agree on the need of the synthesis of plasticity related proteins (PRPs) to consolidate a long-term memory (LTM). Our hypothesis is that when PRPs are limited, interference of a task over LTM formation of another may be due to the utilization of protein resources common to both tasks. Here, by combining the tasks of inhibitory avoidance (IA) and open field (OF) exploration in rats, we show that memory traces compete for their stabilization if PRPs are limited. As a result, LTM is formed for only one of the tasks with a consequent decrease in the memory for the other. Furthermore, infusing Arc antisense oligonucleotide into the dorsal hippocampus, we found that Arc is necessary for LTM formation of these two types of learning tasks and is one of the PRPs that can be shared between them when animals are trained in both OF and IA. In sum, these findings suggest that under conditions of reduced protein availability, a learning task interferes with LTM formation of another by using the available PRPs.
    Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 06/2012; 98(2):165-73. · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Long-term memory (LTM) consolidation requires the synthesis of plasticity-related proteins (PRPs). In addition, we have shown recently that LTM formation also requires the setting of a "learning tag" able to capture those PRPs. Weak training, which results only in short-term memory, can set a tag to use PRPs derived from a temporal-spatial closely related event to promote LTM formation. Here, we studied the involvement of glutamatergic, dopaminergic, and noradrenergic inputs on the setting of an inhibitory avoidance (IA) learning tag and the synthesis of PRPs. Rats explored an open field (PRP donor) followed by weak (tag inducer) or strong (tag inducer plus PRP donor) IA training. Throughout pharmacological interventions around open-field and/or IA sessions, we found that hippocampal dopamine D1/D5- and β-adrenergic receptors are specifically required to induce PRP synthesis. Moreover, activation of the glutamatergic NMDA receptors is required for setting the learning tags, and this machinery further required α-Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II and PKA but not ERK1/2 activity. Together, the present findings emphasize an essential role of the induction of PRPs and learning tags for LTM formation. The existence of only the PRP or the tag was insufficient for stabilization of the mnemonic trace.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2011; 108(31):12931-6. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In daily life, memories are intertwined events. Little is known about the mechanisms involved in their interactions. Using two hippocampus-dependent (spatial object recognition and contextual fear conditioning) and one hippocampus-independent (conditioned taste aversion) learning tasks, we show that in rats subjected to weak training protocols that induce solely short term memory (STM), long term memory (LTM) is promoted and formed only if training sessions took place in contingence with a novel, but not familiar, experience occurring during a critical time window around training. This process requires newly synthesized proteins induced by novelty and reveals a general mechanism of LTM formation that begins with the setting of a "learning tag" established by a weak training. These findings represent the first comprehensive set of evidences indicating the existence of a behavioral tagging process that in analogy to the synaptic tagging and capture process, need the creation of a transient, protein synthesis-independent, and input specific tag.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2009; 106(34):14599-604. · 9.81 Impact Factor