Spatial memory dysfunction has been demonstrated in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) which is consistent with the clinical finding that the early signature of AD includes difficulties in the formation and/or storage of a memory. A stored memory—a long term memory—can be modulated via process called as memory retrieval that can either lead toward memory reconsolidation or even memory extinction.
We aim to shed light on the fate of the spatial memory during memory reactivation and memory extinction using a water maze task.
In Set-up I, we trained 3-month-old mice (wild-type mice and mice with cerebral β-amyloidosis) and assessed the fate of remote memory after four months of retention interval (RI). In Set-up II, we performed an early-extensive training at 2 months of age, retrained the same mice at 3 months of age, introduced four months of RI, and finally assessed remote spatial memory at 7 months of age.
We find in β-amyloidosis mice that memory reactivation problems were detectable at 7 months of age and were alleviated by cognitive overtraining. Similarly, forgetting of remote spatial memory was also minimized by cognitive overtraining. Finally, we show that the cognitive training facilitates the recovery of the reactivated spatial memory while reducing the ability to form new spatial memory in AD mice.
This result may explain the rationality behind the cognitive reserve observed in AD patients and elderly with severe β-amyloidosis not corresponding to the actual low dementia symptoms.