Examining the effects of deep brain stimulation and targeted memory reactivation on rodent motor learning

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Campbell, Seth Y.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Neuroscience
One important form of memory that is enhanced through repeated training and sleep are motor memories. Motor memories play a vital role in many physical movements and skills we make. Despite this, our understanding of how these memories are processed and enhanced during sleep is not completely understood. Two techniques for sleep manipulation have been proposed to possibly help improve learning: deep brain stimulation (DBS) and targeted memory reactivation (TMR). This work tested whether a combination of these two techniques could improve the rate of learning in a pellet reaching task using rats. Four experimental rats who received DBS and TMR and two control rats were implanted with local field potential (LFP) electrodes and trained on the single-pellet reaching task for 15 days total, accompanied by rest before and after. Although DBS did increase the rate of spindles occurring in experimental rats, there was no performance difference in the task between groups. Sharp wave-ripple events did not significantly differ between groups, but spindle onset relative to DBS pulse peri-event histogram showed a significant increase at the 100-300ms range, supporting a previous study (Eckert et al., 2021). Follow-up pilot studies were conducted to further improve the original experiment’s design as well, but no follow-up study design could be confirmed yet. Future directions are discussed including possible changes to stimulation paradigms, experiment design and using an alternative motor learning task.
Motor memory , Deep brain stimulation , Targeted memory reactivation , Rate of learning , Reaching task , Motor learning task