Fabricio Ballarini

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

Are you Fabricio Ballarini?

Claim your profile

Publications (8)33.88 Total impact

  • Source
    Diego Moncada · Fabricio Ballarini · Haydée Viola
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Similar molecular machinery is activated in neurons following an electrical stimulus that induces synaptic changes and after learning sessions that trigger memory formation. Then, to achieve perdurability of these processes protein synthesis is required for the reinforcement of the changes induced in the network. The synaptic tagging and capture theory provided a strong framework to explain synaptic specificity and persistence of electrophysiological induced plastic changes. Ten years later, the behavioral tagging hypothesis (BT) made use of the same argument, applying it to learning and memory models. The hypothesis postulates that the formation of lasting memories relies on at least two processes: the setting of a learning tag and the synthesis of plasticity related proteins, which once captured at tagged sites allow memory consolidation. BT explains how weak events, only capable of inducing transient forms of memories, can result in lasting memories when occurring close in time with other behaviorally relevant experiences that provide proteins. In this review, we detail the findings supporting the existence of BT process in rodents, leading to the consolidation, persistence, and interference of a memory. We focus on the molecular machinery taking place in these processes and describe the experimental data supporting the BT in humans.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Memories are experience-dependent internal representations of the world that can last from short periods of time to a whole life. The formation of long-term memories relies on several biochemical changes, which inducing modifications in the synaptic efficiency change the way the neurons communicate each other. Interestingly, the formation of a lasting memory does not entirely depend on learning itself; different events occurring before or after a particular experience can affect its processing, impairing, improving, or even inducing lasting memories. The overlapping of neuronal networks involved in the processing of different types of learning might explain why different experiences interact at neuronal level. However, how and where this does really happen is an issue of study. In 1997, the Synaptic Tagging and Capture (STC) hypothesis provided a strong framework to explain how synaptic specificity can be achieved when inducing long-lasting changes in electrophysiological models of functional plasticity. Ten years later, an analogous argument was used in learning and memory models to postulate the Behavioral Tagging hypothesis. This framework provided solid explanation of how weak events, only capable of inducing transient forms of memories, can result in lasting memories when occurring in the context of other behaviorally relevant experiences. The hypothesis postulates that the formation of lasting memories rely on at least two parallel processes: the setting of a learning tag that determines which memory could be stored and were; and the synthesis of plasticity-related proteins, which once captured at tagged sites will allow the consolidation of a memory for long periods of time. Therefore a weak learning, only able to induce transient forms of memories but also capable of setting a learning tag, could be benefited from the proteins synthesized by a different strong event, processed in the same areas, by using them to consolidate its own lasting memory. In this chapter we will detail the postulates and predictions of the Behavioral Tagging hypothesis, deepen the mechanisms involved in the setting of the tag and the synthesis of proteins, and revise the universe of experiments performed from rodents to humans in order to discuss its implications on learning and memory processing.
    No preview · Chapter · Jan 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Hippocampus
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Progress in molecular biology and translational science
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2013 · PLoS ONE
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2012 · Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2011 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2009 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Publication Stats

151 Citations
33.88 Total Impact Points


  • 2009-2015
    • University of Buenos Aires
      • • Institute of Cellular Biology and Neuroscience Professor Eduardo De Robertis
      • • Faculty of Medicine
      Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires F.D., Argentina
  • 2011
    • National Scientific and Technical Research Council
      • IBCN - Instituto de Biología Celular y Neurociencia "Prof E. de Robertis"
      Mendoza, Provincia de Mendoza, Argentina