Enhanced long-term and impaired short-term spatial memory in GluA1 AMPA receptor subunit knockout mice: evidence for a dual-process memory model.
Sanderson DJ., Good MA., Skelton K., Sprengel R., Seeburg PH., Rawlins JNP., Bannerman DM.
The GluA1 AMPA receptor subunit is a key mediator of hippocampal synaptic plasticity and is especially important for a rapidly-induced, short-lasting form of potentiation. GluA1 gene deletion impairs hippocampus-dependent, spatial working memory, but spares hippocampus-dependent spatial reference memory. These findings may reflect the necessity of GluA1-dependent synaptic plasticity for short-term memory of recently visited places, but not for the ability to form long-term associations between a particular spatial location and an outcome. This hypothesis is in concordance with the theory that short-term and long-term memory depend on dissociable psychological processes. In this study we tested GluA1-/- mice on both short-term and long-term spatial memory using a simple novelty preference task. Mice were given a series of repeated exposures to a particular spatial location (the arm of a Y-maze) before their preference for a novel spatial location (the unvisited arm of the maze) over the familiar spatial location was assessed. GluA1-/- mice were impaired if the interval between the trials was short (1 min), but showed enhanced spatial memory if the interval between the trials was long (24 h). This enhancement was caused by the interval between the exposure trials rather than the interval prior to the test, thus demonstrating enhanced learning and not simply enhanced performance or expression of memory. This seemingly paradoxical enhancement of hippocampus-dependent spatial learning may be caused by GluA1 gene deletion reducing the detrimental effects of short-term memory on subsequent long-term learning. Thus, these results support a dual-process model of memory in which short-term and long-term memory are separate and sometimes competitive processes.