Memory processing in the avian hippocampus involves interactions between beta-adrenoceptors, glutamate receptors, and metabolism

Marie Elizabeth Gibbs, David Nicholas Bowser, Dana Sabine Hutchinson, Richard Loiacono, Roger James Summers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Noradrenaline is known to modulate memory formation in the mammalian hippocampus. We have examined how noradrenaline and selective beta-adrenoceptor (AR) agonists affect memory consolidation and how antagonists inhibit memory consolidation in the avian hippocampus. Injection of selective beta-AR agonists and antagonists at specific times within 30 min of a weakly or strongly reinforced, single-trial, bead discrimination learning test in 1-day-old chicks allowed us to determine the pattern of beta-AR involvement in hippocampal memory processing. Different beta-AR subtypes were recruited in temporal sequence after learning in the order beta(1), beta(3), and beta(2.) We provide evidence that the effect of manipulation of beta(1)-ARs by selective agonists and antagonists within 2.5 min of training parallels the action of NMDA receptor agonists and antagonists. Activation of beta(3)- and beta(2)-ARs facilitated memory but utilized different mechanisms: beta(3)-ARs by stimulating glucose uptake and metabolism, and beta(2)-ARs by increasing the breakdown of glycogen-with both metabolic events occurring in astrocytes and affecting intermediate memory. The different receptors are activated at different times within the lifetime of labile memory and within 30 min of learning. We have defined separate roles for the three beta-ARs in memory and demonstrated that the avian hippocampus is involved in learning and memory in much the same way as the hippocampus in the mammalian brain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2831 - 2846
Number of pages16
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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