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Human memory strength is predicted by theta-frequency phase-locking of single neurons

Rutishauser, Ueli and Ross, Ian B. and Mamelak, Adam N. and Schuman, Erin M. (2010) Human memory strength is predicted by theta-frequency phase-locking of single neurons. Nature, 464 (7290). pp. 903-909. ISSN 0028-0836.

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Learning from novel experiences is a major task of the central nervous system. In mammals, the medial temporal lobe is crucial for this rapid form of learning. The modification of synapses and neuronal circuits through plasticity is thought to underlie memory formation. The induction of synaptic plasticity is favoured by coordinated action-potential timing across populations of neurons. Such coordinated activity of neural populations can give rise to oscillations of different frequencies, recorded in local field potentials. Brain oscillations in the theta frequency range (3–8 Hz) are often associated with the favourable induction of synaptic plasticity as well as behavioural memory. Here we report the activity of single neurons recorded together with the local field potential in humans engaged in a learning task. We show that successful memory formation in humans is predicted by a tight coordination of spike timing with the local theta oscillation. More stereotyped spiking predicts better memory, as indicated by higher retrieval confidence reported by subjects. These findings provide a link between the known modulation of theta oscillations by many memory-modulating behaviours and circuit mechanisms of plasticity.

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Rutishauser, Ueli0000-0002-9207-7069
Mamelak, Adam N.0000-0002-4245-6431
Schuman, Erin M.0000-0002-7053-1005
Additional Information:© 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 19 August 2009; accepted 27 January 2010. Published online 24 March 2010. We thank all patients for their participation; the staff of the Huntington Memorial Hospital epilepsy unit; C. Heller, L. Philpot and W. Sutherling for their support; and F. Mormann, G. Laurent and R. Adolphs for discussion. Funding was provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the William T. Gimbel Discovery Fund and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Author Contributions: U.R. designed and performed experiments, wrote analysis methods, analysed data and wrote the paper; A.N.M. and I.B.R. performed surgery; A.N.M. designed experiments; E.M.S. designed experiments and wrote the paper. All authors discussed the results.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
William T. Gimbel Discovery FundUNSPECIFIED
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:7290
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100512-154554764
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Official Citation:Rutishauser, U., I. B. Ross, et al. (2010). "Human memory strength is predicted by theta-frequency phase-locking of single neurons." Nature 464(7290): 903-907.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:18277
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:14 May 2010 23:15
Last Modified:01 Apr 2020 22:59

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