Spatial learning induces predominant downregulation of cytosolic proteins in the rat hippocampus

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurology

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Discrimination Learning; Down-Regulation; Gene Expression Profiling; Hippocampus; Male; Maze Learning; Nerve Tissue Proteins; Proteomics; Random Allocation; Rats; Rats, Wistar; Space Perception; Spatial Behavior; Statistics, Nonparametric


Nervous System Diseases | Neurology | Neuroscience and Neurobiology


Spatial learning is known to depend on protein synthesis in the hippocampus. Whereas the role of the hippocampus in spatial memory is established, the biochemical and molecular mechanisms underlying this process are poorly understood. To comprehend the complex pattern of protein expression induced by spatial learning, we analyzed alterations in the rat hippocampus proteome after 7 days of spatial learning in the Morris water maze. Forty Wistar rats were randomized into two groups. Animals of group A learned to localize a hidden platform in the water maze. Animals of group B served as controls and spent exactly the same time in the water maze as animals of group A. However, no platform was used in this test and the rats could not learn to localize the target. After the last trial, hydrophilic proteins from the hippocampus were isolated. A proteome-wide study was performed, based on two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. Compared with non-learning animals, 53 (70%) proteins were downregulated and 23 (30%) proteins were upregulated after 7 days in rats with spatial learning. The overall changes in protein expression, as quantified by the induction factor, ranged from -1.62 (downregulation to 62%) to 2.10 (upregulation by 110%) compared with controls (100%). Most identified proteins exhibit known functions in vesicle transport, cytoskeletal architecture, and metabolism as well as neurogenesis. These findings indicate that learning in the Morris water maze has a morphological correlate on the proteome level in the hippocampus.

DOI of Published Version



Genes Brain Behav. 2007 Mar;6(2):128-40. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Genes, brain, and behavior

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID