Associative Learning and Long-Term Potentiation in Rodents: Effects of Nutrition
José M. Delgado-Garcia, MD, PhD, National University Pablo de Olavide, Division of Neurosciences, Spain
For more than 60 years, acquired learning abilities have been assumed to be stored in the form of functional and/or structural changes in synaptic efficiency. Although there are many excellent studies in vitro of the electrophysiological processes and molecular events supporting activity-dependent synaptic changes, not much information is available on synaptic changes in strength during actual learning in behaving animals. Dr Delgado-Garcia and his research team have shown that classical conditioning of eyelid responses in behaving mice increased the synaptic strength of the hippocampal CA3-CA1 synapse. He describes technical procedures used to study the firing and synaptic activities of selected brain sites during different types of associative learning tasks. He states that long-term potentiation evoked experimentally in laboratory animals shares some synaptic properties and molecular mechanisms with learning-dependent changes in synaptic strength. Synaptic changes evoked by learning can be modified by environmental, social, and emotional factors, as well as by drugs and putative dietary ingredients.Read Full Summary (PDF 396 KB)
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