Enhanced activation of prefrontal cortex helps rats to form accurate event associations faster.
Jarovi J, Volle J, Yu XT, Guan L, Takehara-Nishiuchi K, Increased prefrontal activity sharpens the selectivity of prefrontal theta oscillations for the mnemonic value of events and facilitates their encoding, eNeuro, 0407-18.
Although we experience an ongoing stream of events every day, the brain does not form lasting memory traces for every sequence of events that we have encountered. We discovered that activating one region of the brain, the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) facilitated rats to form memories of important events without increasing the learning of unimportant ones. The memory enhancement was associated with improved responses of mPFC network to the important events. Notably, the same manipulation did not affect the subsequent revision of memory contents in the face of the changing event contingency. These findings identify the mPFC network activity selective for the behavioral relevance of events as a mechanism that controls the mnemonic fate of event information. It also suggests that manipulations of the mPFC allow for tapping into intrinsic memory encoding processes to enhance event memories. This provides a new idea for memory enhancement, which is critically needed for the fast growing elderly population facing memory handicaps.