Silent learning

Janine I Rossato, Andrea Moreno, Lisa Genzel, Miwako Yamasaki, Tomonori Takeuchi, Santiago Canals, Richard G. M. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We introduce the concept of “silent learning”—the capacity to learn despite neuronal cell-firing being largely absent. This idea emerged from thinking about dendritic computation [1, 2] and examining whether the encoding, expression, and retrieval of hippocampal-dependent memory could be dissociated using the intrahippocampal infusion of pharmacological compounds. We observed that very modest enhancement of GABAergic inhibition with low-dose muscimol blocked both cell-firing and the retrieval of an already-formed memory but left induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) and new spatial memory encoding intact (silent learning). In contrast, blockade of hippocampal NMDA receptors by intrahippocampal D-AP5 impaired both the induction of LTP and encoding but had no effect on memory retrieval. Blockade of AMPA receptors by CNQX impaired excitatory synaptic transmission and cell-firing and both memory encoding and retrieval. Thus, in keeping with the synaptic plasticity and memory hypothesis [3], the hippocampal network can mediate new memory encoding when LTP induction is intact even under conditions in which somatic cell-firing is blocked.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3508-3515.e5
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number21
Early online date25 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2018


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