The Na+/Ca2+ exchanger 1 (NCX1) participates in the maintenance of neuronal Na+ and Ca2+ homeostasis, and it is highly expressed at synapse level of some brain areas involved in learning and memory processes, including the hippocampus, cortex, and amygdala. Furthermore, NCX1 increases Akt1 phosphorylation and enhances glutamate-mediated Ca2+ influx during depolarization in hippocampal and cortical neurons, two processes involved in learning and memory mechanisms. We investigated whether the modulation of NCX1 expression/activity might influence learning and memory processes. To this aim, we used a knock-in mouse overexpressing NCX1 in hippocampal, cortical, and amygdala neurons (ncx1.4over) and a newly synthesized selective NCX1 stimulating compound, named CN-PYB2. Both ncx1.4over and CN-PYB2-treated mice showed an amelioration in spatial learning performance in Barnes maze task, and in context-dependent memory consolidation after trace fear conditioning. On the other hand, these mice showed no improvement in novel object recognition task which is mainly dependent on non-spatial memory and displayed an increase in the active phosphorylated CaMKIIα levels in the hippocampus. Interestingly, both of these mice showed an increased level of context-dependent anxiety. Altogether, these results demonstrate that neuronal NCX1 participates in spatial-dependent hippocampal learning and memory processes.
- Drug discovery
- Long-term memory
- Synaptic plasticity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience