Université de Strasbourg

Boost memory vividness

Deep brain stimulation of the ventral midline thalamus to boost memory vividness over time

Freiburg-Strasbourg Fellows : Jean-Christophe Cassel and Ulrich Hofmann
Post-doc: Richard Pinnell

Memories hold where we come from, define who we are and construct our projects. Beside other cognitive implications (strategy selection, encoding of memory details), the reuniens and rhomboid nuclei of the ventral midline of the thalamus play a crucial role in consolidation of memories at systems-level, hence in their persistence. This is related to their connectivity with the medial prefontal cortex (mPFC) and the hippocampus. Our project will focus on the interplay between the ventral midline nuclei rhomboid and reuniens and memory functions, which are dependent on their reciprocal connections with the hippocampus and mPFC. Our hypothesis is that the precision or/and vividness over time of recent memory traces will be differentially affected by electrical stimulation of the nucleus rhomboid/reuniens due to the effects of DBS. The project aims to i) refine the targeting of the rhomboid and reuniens nuclei in a rat model, ii) develop and construct flexible stimulation devices, iii) set up stimulation parameters for DBS, iv) test these parameters in the rat model and measure their effects using functional imaging (immediate early gene expression), electrophysiological recording and memory tests (in the double-H and Morris water mazes). Knowledge gained from this study may provide a platform for recovery of function approaches in humans suffering amnesia as a consequence of e.g., stroke or neurodegenerative diseases.


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