Making memories last using the peripheral effect of direct current stimulation

  1. Alison M Luckey
  2. Lauren S McLeod
  3. Yuefeng Huang
  4. Anusha Mohan
  5. Sven Vanneste  Is a corresponding author
  1. Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
  2. Texas Tech University, United States
  3. Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, United States

Abstract

Most memories that are formed are forgotten, while others are retained longer and are subject to memory stabilization. We show that non-invasive transcutaneous electrical stimulation of the greater occipital nerve (NITESGON) using direct current during learning elicited a long-term memory effect. However, it did not trigger an immediate effect on learning. A neurobiological model of long-term memory proposes a mechanism by which memories that are initially unstable can be strengthened through subsequent novel experiences. In a series of studies, we demonstrate NITESGON's capability to boost the retention of memories when applied shortly before, during or shortly after the time of learning by enhancing memory consolidation via activation and communication in and between the locus coeruleus pathway and hippocampus by plausibly modulating dopaminergic input. These findings may have a significant impact for neurocognitive disorders that inhibit memory consolidation such as Alzheimer's disease.

Data availability

data is available: https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.dbrv15f46

The following data sets were generated

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Alison M Luckey

    Global Brain Health Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Lauren S McLeod

    School of Medicine, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Yuefeng Huang

    Department of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Anusha Mohan

    Global Brain Health Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Sven Vanneste

    Global Brain Health Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
    For correspondence
    sven.vanneste@tcd.ie
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-1513-5752

Funding

Alzheimer Association (AARG-21-848486)

  • Sven Vanneste

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Lila Davachi, Columbia University, United States

Ethics

Human subjects: All experiments were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Declaration of Helsinki (1964). Experiments 1-7 were approved by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Texas at Dallas, All participants signed a written informed consent and consent to publish was obtained.

Version history

  1. Received: November 15, 2021
  2. Preprint posted: July 6, 2022 (view preprint)
  3. Accepted: May 18, 2023
  4. Accepted Manuscript published: May 19, 2023 (version 1)
  5. Version of Record published: June 5, 2023 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2023, Luckey et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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  1. Alison M Luckey
  2. Lauren S McLeod
  3. Yuefeng Huang
  4. Anusha Mohan
  5. Sven Vanneste
(2023)
Making memories last using the peripheral effect of direct current stimulation
eLife 12:e75586.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.75586

Share this article

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.75586

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