069 | Study of dopaminergic tone in context memory and generalization of contextual learning.

Cognition, Behavior, and Memory

Author: Ivan Alvarez | Email: ivan12alvarez@gmail.com

Ivan Alvarez , Rafael Pagani

1° Universidad de Buenos Aires—Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Facultad de Medicina, Instituto de Fisiología y Biofísica Bernardo Houssay (IFIBIO)-Houssay, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Dopamine is essential in several processes, such as motivation, arousal, sleep, learning and memory in vertebrates and invertebrates. Preliminary studies in our laboratory indicate that certain groups of dopaminergic neurons (DANs) promote memory to context. Our working hypothesis considers that dopaminergic tone regulates generalization. This is a cognitive capacity that allows the application of knowledge acquired in a given situation to similar situations in the future. To study the role of dopaminergic neurons in memory and memory generalization we conducted a contextual learning trial designed as follows: The animal is trained in one context and then tested in the same or a similar or a different context. Through this test it is possible to detect memory to the original context, normal generalization and overgeneralization. Through this assay we will be able to measure generalization in a series of genotypes in which we manipulate the excitability of DANs. Manipulation of dopaminergic neurons was carried out by ion channels targeting specific groups of dopaminergic neurons using the GAL4/UAS expression system.Our preliminary results suggest that at least two groups of DANs differentially modulate context habituation and context recognition memory.