Time-place learning: Consequences of circadian system perturbations and aging

Mulder, C., 2015, [Groningen]: University of Groningen. 216 p.

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)Academic

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  • Title and contents

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  • Chapter 1

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  • Chapter 2

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  • Chapter 3

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  • Chapter 4

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  • Chapter 5

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  • Chapter 6

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  • Chapter 7

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  • Chapter 8

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  • Appendix I

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  • Appendix II

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  • Complete dissertation

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  • Propositions

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  • Cornelis Mulder
Like humans, animals can remember when and where important events have occurred in the past. Importantly, the memory used for this so called Time-Place Learning (TPL) resembles human episodic (what-where-when) memory. This type of time memory is most sensitive to aging and perturbations of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. It has been shown that animals use an internal clock system for TPL, but not much is known about this specific role of the biological clock in memory formation. Here we investigated several components of the biological clock for their role in TPL, and the effects of aging.
Three striking and surprising findings were revealed: 1) In contrast to what was generally expected, a class of clock genes called Per genes are not required for TPL whereas their counterparts called Cry clock genes are. This remarkable finding forces the field of Chronobiology to revisit the functional role of these genes in TPL. 2) The brain's master clock, originally thought to govern all daily rhythms in the brain, proved to be insignificant to TPL. Another clock-system, yet to be identified, takes the lead in TPL. 3) TPL ability is lost with aging. Although old individuals can maintain TPL when trained from young age, they are apparently unable to forget and adapt to changes in the way that younger individuals can. Together, these results have identified TPL as a valuable paradigm to study the role of the biological clock in memory formation, and notably in aging-related alterations in memory formation.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
Award date17-Apr-2015
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-90-367-7739-1
Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-7738-4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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