Scientists Discovered How the Brain Selectively Remembers New Places

Neuroscientists identify a circuit that helps the brain record memories of new locations.

Scientists Discovered How the Brain Selectively Remembers New Places
The image shows the locus coeruleus, which drives neuronal circuits of the hippocampus and enables novel contextual memory. The red staining shows norepinephrine transporter (NET)-positive cells, indicating the locus coeruleus. The green staining shows adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated expressions of light-sensitive inhibitory opsin, archaerhodopsin (Arch). The blue staining shows all cells in the brain stem. Image: Akiko Wagatsuma, Tonegawa Lab

When you go into a room, your brain is barraged with tactile data. On the off chance that the room is a place you know well, the greater part of this data is as of now put away in long-haul memory. Nonetheless, if the room is new to you, your brain makes another memory of it very quickly.

MIT neuroscientists have now found how this happens. A little district of the brainstem, known as the locus coeruleus, is actuated in light of novel tangible jolts, and this movement triggers the arrival of a surge of dopamine into a specific area of the hippocampus to store a memory of the new area.

This surprising capacity to remember some particular highlights of an involvement in a completely new condition is significant for our adjustment to the always showing signs of change world.

Susumu Tonegawa, the Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience said, “This study opens an exciting avenue of research into the circuit mechanism by which behaviorally relevant stimuli are specifically encoded into long-term memory, ensuring that important stimuli are stored preferentially over incidental ones.” 

According to the previous study, a part of the hippocampus called the CA3 is responsible for forming memories of novel environments. They hypothesized that the CA3 receives a signal from another part of the brain when a novel place is encountered, stimulating memory formation.

The flag accepted to be conveyed by chemicals known as neuromodulators, which impact neuronal movement. The CA3 gets neuromodulators from both the locus coeruleus (LC) and a locale called the ventral tegmental territory (VTA), which is a key piece of the mind’s reward hardware. The analysts chose to concentrate on the LC in light of the fact that it has been appealed to extend to the CA3 broadly and to react to curiosity, among numerous different capacities.

The LC reacts to a variety of tangible information, including visual data and additionally solid and smell, at that point sends data on to other brain zones, including the CA3. To reveal the part of LC-CA3 correspondence, the analysts hereditarily built mice with the goal that they could hinder the neuronal movement between those districts by sparkling light on neurons that frame the association.

To test the mice’s ability to form new memories, scientists placed the mice in a large open space that they had never seen before. later, they placed them in the same space again.

Mice whose LC-CA3 connections were not disrupted spent much less time exploring the space on the second day because the environment was already familiar to them. However, when the researchers interfered with the LC-CA3 connection during the first exposure to space, the mice explored the area on the second day just as much as they had on the first. This suggests that they were unable to form a memory of the new environment.

The LC appears to exert this effect by releasing the neuromodulator dopamine into the CA3 region, which was surprising because the LC is known to be a major source of norepinephrine in the hippocampus. The researchers believe that this influx of dopamine helps to boost CA3’s ability to strengthen synapses and form a memory of the new location.

Scientists found that the same mechanism is not essential for other types of memory, But, it appears to be specific to the memory of new environments.

Richard Morris, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh said, “The selectivity of successful memory formation has long been a puzzle. This study goes a long way toward identifying the brain mechanisms of this process. Activity in the pathway between the locus coeruleus and CA3 occurs most strongly during novelty, and it seems that activity fixes the representations of everyday experience, helping to register and retain what’s been happening and where we’ve been.”

Akiko Wagatsuma, a former MIT research scientist said, “When we are exposed to sensory information, we unconsciously choose what to memorize. For an animal’s survival, certain things are necessary to be remembered, and other things, familiar things, probably can be forgotten.”

The specialists estimate that some piece of the cerebrum can contrast new situations and put away recollections or with desires of the earth, however, more examinations are expected to investigate how this may happen.