Training-induced and electrically induced potentiation in the neocortex
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Long-term potentiation (LTP) shares many properties with memory and is currently the most popular laboratory model of memory. Although it has not been proven that memory is based on an LTP-like mechanism, there is evidence that learning a motor skill can induce LTP-like effects. This evidence was obtained in a slice-preparation experiment, which precluded within-animal comparisons before and after training. In the present experiments, Long-Evans rats were unilaterally trained to acquire a forelimb reaching and grasping skill. Evoked potentials were found to be larger in motor cortex layer II/III in the trained, compared to the untrained, hemisphere in slice, acute, and chronic preparations. Consistent with previous research, the trained hemisphere was less amenable to subsequent LTP induction. Furthermore, the application of either LTP- or LTD-inducing stimulation during the training phase of the reaching task disrupted the acquisition of the skill, providing further evidence that memory may be based on an LTP mechanism.
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