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Morphological Diversity In The Synapses

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Morphological Diversity In The Synapses Question: Explain in details how hippocampus and Long term potentiation synapse in both short term and long term learning memories in neuron?   Answer: The synapse is known to be functional unit of the brain, and much information has been acquired to understand the structure, physiological function and molecular components of the same. There is a clear consensus that there is molecular and morphological diversity in the synapses and the diversity are responsible for various functions, including the short term and long term memory of individuals. It is known that the hippocampus is a small organ found in the brain’s medial temporal lobe. It is known to form a significant part of the limbic system which is responsible for regulating emotions in individuals. It has two main parts; the dentate gyrus and the hippocampus proper. The organ has been chiefly associated with memory, more specifically mentioning long term memory, and learning. Further, the organ also is associated with spatial navigation. In neuroscience, long term potentiation (LTP) is the consistent strengthening of synapses on the basis of updated patterns of activity. These patterns are referred to the important synaptic activity that leads to a long lasting augmentation in the signal transmission between two neurons. LTP has been considered to be a chief mechanism at the cellular level underlying learning and memory (Baudry et al., 2015). The role of hippocampus and Long term potentiation synapse in both short term and long term learning memory in neuron had been studied by Mayford et al., (2012). Research carried out on hippocampus of rats revealed that the set of neurons present in the hippocampus are responsible for registering information about the spaces surrounding the animal, including sound, sight, pain or touch. The cells are known as ‘place cell’s and is linked with the spatial environment. The study declared that the role of hippocampus in memory is that of a multimodal integrator. In addition, it acts as a mapmaker.   The synaptic responses that are a part of the hippocampus have the ability of displaying plasticity and have different characteristics, including memory storage. A prolonged strengthening of synaptic transmission in the major hippocampal pathways has been achieved when a stimulation had been provide with a high frequency train of action potentials. This long term potentiation (LTP) needs presynaptic activity followed by postsynaptic activity for its functioning. The features of LTP linked with memory and learning are synapse specificity, associativity and cooperativity. The N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA)-type glutamate receptor’s activation has a very deep link with process of the induction of LTP. In the body, the postsynaptic membrane confers sensitivity to the receptor to a great extent. The receptors are further blocked when there is absence of glutamate. Production of LTP occurs primarily at synapses from a given presynaptic neuron in the active condition. The properties presented by the NMDA-dependent synaptic plasticity have been linked with cellular mechanism of learning and memory associations. In 1986 pharmacological studies had been carried out that indicated that LTP is linked with memory through NMDA receptors whose activation is important for the same. When there is blockage of NMDA receptors, there is successive blockage of LTP and thus the body cannot form spatial memories. It is to be remembered that such memory is dependent on hippocampus. An experiment was carried out with the help of the Morris water maze. In such a maze an animal is supposed to integrate more than one visual cues for forming spatial memory to understand the maze. When NMDA receptors were blocked, the ability of the animal to swim was not impaired. This task does not require the functioning of the hippocampus. Further, the blockage of NMDA receptors through pharmacological method had been found to modify the stability of the place cells present in the hippocampus. In situations when animals are put in the similar environment on two days one after the other, there is a substantial activation of the same ensemble of the hippocampal place cells and the place fields are in same positions for the two days. The place fields, or a particular location in the place cells, have their distribution covering the environment. As a result, it can be assumed that groups of place cells are responsible for forming maps in the hippocampus. When these maps are accurate in their functioning, one can learn about the environment and remember about it (Xiong et al., 2017). The idea that emerges from this concept is that the cells are responsible for encoding a robust map of the environment. In this regard it is also to be highlighted that the CA1 area of the hippocampus is responsible for formation of memories. A causal association between NMDA receptor function, long-term place cell stability, and long-term memory can thereby be established. It would be advisable to think that the effects have a close association with causal requirement for LTP.   References Baudry, M., Zhu, G., Liu, Y., Wang, Y., Briz, V., & Bi, X. (2015). Multiple cellular cascades participate in long-term potentiation and in hippocampus-dependent learning. Brain research, 1621, 73-81. Mayford, M., Siegelbaum, S. A., & Kandel, E. R. (2012). Synapses and Memory Storage. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology, 4(6), a005751. Xiong, M., Jones, O. D., Peppercorn, K., Ohline, S. M., Tate, W. P., & Abraham, W. C. (2017). Secreted amyloid precursor protein-alpha can restore novel object location memory and hippocampal LTP in aged rats. Neurobiology of learning and memory, 138, 291-299

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