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Hippocampal Memory Circuitry and Animal Models

Prof. Lin Xu, Principle Investigator and Director, Key Lab of Animal Models and Human Disease Mechanisms, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Major interest is to study the hippocampal circuitry in the processes of memory and neuropsychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, drug addiction, major depression, autism, posttraumatic stress disorder etc.; Techniques routinely used are behavior, pharmacology, PET, optogenetic, multi-electrode array recording for spikes and synaptic plasticity, immmunohistology, western blots and expression profiles etc.; By taking the advantage of plentiful diverse natural products in Yunnan and animal models to develop novel drugs for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. Over 70 papers were published in NaturePNASNeuronCellJNS Biol Psychiatry. Winner of NSFC “Distinguished Young Scientists” and CAS “Hundred Talents Project”; Chief scientist of 973 Project “The function and Mechanism of Forgetting”; Principal investigator of Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Science The brain function mapping of learning and memory and Alzheimer’s disease , Filed a number of domestic and foreign patents. Over 40 students got MSc or PhD.


Research Fields and Progress in 2013

We are interested in hippocampal circuitry for learning and memory, especially focus on animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, drug addiction, major depression, autism and posttraumatic stress disorder etc., and paid much attention on the development of animal models and drug discovery from traditional Chinese herbs.

The main research process in 2013

1) We found a patterned high-frequency stimulation that can induce adult rat hippocampal long-term depression (LTD), which requires the coactivation of GABAARs and mAchRs, and endocytosis of AMPARs. 2) We reported that acute ketamine induced hippocampal LTD and spatial memory impairment in freely moving rats, which was reversed by D1/D5 receptor agonist. 3) mtDNA copy number was significantly reduced in hippocampus and peripheral blood of morphine-addicted rats mediated by autophagy, which was salvaged by melatonin. 4) Hippocampal Rac1 activation can reduce contextual fear and promote fear extinction, which may contribute to forgetting. 5) We have set up the combined techniques of optogenetic and multi-electrode array recording, and 6) the touching screen system to test higher brain function in tree shrew, and 7) PET imaging technique in rat and tree shrew, by which we examined the brain regions involved in the processes of contextual fear memory.

Research Team[bjb1] 

Laboratory Staff

Mr. Yue-Xiong Yang, Associate

Dr. Qi-Xin Zhou, Associate

Dr. Rong-Rong Mao, Associate

Ms. Li-Ping Wang,

Postdoctoral Fellow

Juan Carlos Toledo Salas

Graduate Students

Ji-Wei TanHeng ZhouYun-Fang JiaGui-Jing XiongJing WangAn-Ping ChaiLi-Li ShanJin-Nan LiYan-Ping TangYing-Chao LiDa-Fu YuPing GanXuefeng Chen; Chun-Xiang JiaoChen MaMeng Li; Niya Wang; Delin Pu


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32 Jiaochang Donglu Kunming, Yunnan 650223
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