BDNF upregulation during declarative memory formation in monkey inferior temporal cortex

Nature Neuroscience
Wataru TokuyamaYasushi Miyashita

Abstract

In primates, visual long-term memory of objects is presumably stored in the inferior temporal (IT) cortex. Because brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is involved in activity-dependent neural reorganization, we tested the hypothesis that BDNF would be upregulated in IT cortex during formation of visual pair-association memory. To eliminate genetic and cognitive variations between individual animals, we used split-brain monkeys for intra-animal comparison in PCR-based mRNA quantitation. The monkeys learned a pair-association (PA) task using one hemisphere and a control visual task using the other, to balance the amount of visual input. We found that BDNF was upregulated selectively in area 36 of IT cortex during PA learning, but not in areas involved in earlier stages of visual processing. In situ hybridization showed that BDNF-expressing cells were localized in a patchlike cluster. The results suggest that BDNF contributes to reorganization of neural circuits for visual long-term memory formation in the primate.

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