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Long-term Potentiation and Learning

Professor Seth Grant discusses the complicated relationship between long-term potentiation and learning/memory.
The relationship between the physiological process known as long-term potentiation and long-term depression to the behavioral process of learning is a highly controversial and exciting area of research. Long before the electrophysiology was discovered, it was proposed, back in the late 1900’s in fact, that the change in the efficiency of synapses could be a very good way to store information in the nervous system. Many decades after that, electrophysiological investigators found such a phenomenon. However there is a number of reasons to query it’s real central role in learning and memory, and I have to say that at the moment it’s unclear if it’s THE mechanism or the only mechanism involved with learning. There is a number of circumstances where enhancements in long term potentiation are associated with impaired learning, and there’s impairments in long-term potentiation associated with enhanced learning. So there’s not a perfect correlation between the two phenomena, which is one of the reasons it remains controversial.
long, term, potentiation, depression, learning, memory, electrophysiology, synapse, controversy, seth grant
Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Related content:

1208. Long-term Potentiation
Professor Seth Grant explains that long-term potentiation is based on the principle that synapses become stronger with experience.
1217. Long- and Short-term Memory Differences (2)
Professor Seth Grant explains that long-term memories are created when the synapse sends a signal to the nucleus to activate certain genes.
1209. How Long is LTP?
Professor Seth Grant explains that long-term potentiation may last for days or weeks, but is usually studied over the course of several hours.
1212. NMDA Receptors and Learning (1)
Professor Seth Grant explains that NMDA receptors are important to forming memories - if we block NMDA receptors, we can block learning.
1207. Genes to Cognition Continuum
Professor Seth Grant outlines one way in which the Genes to Cognition Research Programme uses model organisms to study learning and memory in humans.
2037. Synapse changes during learning
Professor Kenneth Kosik discusses changes in synapses that accompany long-term potentiation, which include enlarged dendritic spines.
550. The Neural Code
Cognitive information is encoded in patterns of nervous activity and decoded by molecular listening devices at the synapse. Professor Seth Grant explains how different patterns of neural firing are critical to cognition.
1216. Hebbosome
Professor Seth Grant introduced the word 'hebbosome' to describe the multiprotein complex that converts neural activity patterns into a memory trace.
2082. Depressed learning
Professor Wayne Drevets discusses specific types of learning deficits associated with depression. These may be caused by biochemical impairments in long-term potentiation.
2140. Cells - a-beta inhibits long-term potentiation
Professor Dennis Selkoe notes amyloid beta oligomers are very potent inhibitors of long-term potentiation (LTP) and can 'short circuit' synapses in the hippocampus.
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