International Congress of the Polish Neuroscience Society edition:9 location:Warsaw, Poland date:9-12 September 2009
Visuo-motor learning, a dynamic process in which visual stimuli are associated with certain motor responses, leads to goal-directed, complex behaviours. Literature states that the striatum and the hippocampus are two important brain areas for this type of learning since neural mechanisms and changing activation patterns within these areas are involved in the processing of visual stimuli and the subsequent motor act.
The neural activity of mice trained in the Morris water maze was molecularly characterized by in situ hybridization for the immediate early gene activity markers arc and homer1a and this in two timeframes, namely the early learning and the late learning (overtrained/automatisation) phase.
First results show that in the early learning phase arc mRNA expression appears to be upregulated in the ventrolateral striatum, while in the overtrained phase a higher expression is noticeable in the dorsal striatum. Arc and homer1a mRNA expression levels in the hippocampus indicate that this structure is more active in the early learning phase compared to the overtrained phase. Subregional analysis of hippocampal homer1a mRNA expression patterns implies an opposite dynamic of CA1/DG and CA3 in response to learning. While CA1/DG activity decreases when mice become overtrained, CA3 activity seems to slightly increase. Further analysis will reveal how differential molecular activity in the subregions of hippocampus and striatum relates to both phases of the visuo-motor learning process.