PhD: Anaïs Giacinti

Functional implication of cerebral vascular networks in memory consolidation

Defended on December 1st, 2014

While there is consensus that cerebral blood flow is distributed according to the metabolic demand of neurons, the contribution of vascular networks to memory consolidation, the process by which memories acquire stability over time, remains unknown. This process requires a transitory hippocampal-cortical interaction allowing the progressive remodeling of cortical neuronal networks supporting the remote memory trace.
By using a behavioral task requiring an associative olfactory memory coupled to cellular imaging techniques, we first reveal, in adult healthy rats, a functional dissociation between the reactivity and the architecture of cerebral vascular networks. We identify calcium signaling changes that occur in specific cerebral arteries, pointing to their ability to adapt their dynamics upon retrieval to enable the successful expression of either recent or remote memories. Moreover, we show that vascular networks undergo a time-dependent densification via an angiogenesis mechanism as early as one day after learning, including in cortical regions which will only support memory storage and retrieval weeks later. By specifically stimulating this early cortical angiogenesis, we were able to improve the performance of rats tested for remote memory.
Taken together, our results highlight the importance of vascular plasticity in modulating neuronal plasticity and cognitive functions. They also suggest that the early structural changes within vascular networks could constitute a permissive mechanism which regulates the development of cortical dendritic spines thought to support the progressive formation and storage of enduring memories.

Keywords : memory consolidation, cerebral vascular network, calcium signaling, angiogenesis.


  • BRUNET Isabelle
    CR1, INSERM Paris  – Rapporteur
  • POUCET Bruno 
    DR, CNRS Marseille  – Rapporteur
  • BIKFALVI Andreas
    Pr, INSERM BordeauxExaminateur
  • ROULLET Pascal Pr, 
    CNRS Toulouse  – Examinateur
  • MACREZ Nathalie 
    DR, CNRS Bordeaux  – Directrice de thèse


Nathalie MACREZ
Directeur de recherche – PhD
Team: Dynamics of neuronal and vascular network in memory process

Bruno Bontempi
Team leader – Dynamics of neuronal and vascular network in memory process .

Last update: 14 April 2018