Biological Basis of Memory

For years, researchers have tried to identify the biological basis of memory. This basis might take many forms, such as the model we will discuss this week, but the physical trace of the memory has become known as the engram. While it is likely that there are multiple ways in which memory is stored, the current model for the formation of new memories is Long-Term Potentiation. This model was described by Donald Hebb, who summarized it in 1949 by saying “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” This model suggests that when neurons are typically activated at the same time, the connection between those cells is strengthened. In the terms we have described earlier in our class, the postsynaptic cell becomes more responsive to the neurotransmitters released by the presynaptic cell. Nearly 20 years after Hebb’s quote, the process of LTP was actually observed in the hippocampus. Today, this model is the basis for our understanding of how new memories are formed. A more recent, and less well-understood process is long-term depression, in which the connections between two cells are actively weakened.

For this Discussion, you will explore this LTP model including the neurotransmitters and receptors involved. You will consider what activates each receptor and what changes within the receptor when it is activated.

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Note: For this Discussion, you are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleagues’ postings. Begin by clicking on the Post to Discussion Question link, and then select Create Thread to complete your initial post. Remember, once you click on Submit, you cannot delete or edit your own posts—and cannot post anonymously. Please check your post carefully before clicking on Submit.

Post a response to the following:

Explain Long-Term Potentiation in your own words.
Include a description of the receptor involved in LTP and what happens when it is stimulated by its ligand.
Explain the changes that happen in both the presynaptic and postsynaptic cell as part of the LTP process.
Briefly summarize the articles you found in the library that support how LTP is beneficial in your daily life. Include full APA references for your articles.

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