Cellular activation of hypothalamic hypocretin/orexin neurons facilitates short-term spatial memory in mice

Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2016 Dec;136:183-188. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2016.10.005. Epub 2016 Oct 13.


The hypothalamic hypocretin/orexin (HO) system holds a central role in the regulation of several physiological functions critical for food-seeking behavior including mnemonic processes for effective foraging behavior. It is unclear however whether physiological increases in HO neuronal activity can support such processes. Using a designer rM3Ds receptor activation approach increasing HO neuronal activity resulted in improved short-term memory for novel locations. When tested on a non-spatial novelty object recognition task no significant difference was detected between groups indicating that hypothalamic HO neuronal activation can selectively facilitate short-term spatial memory for potentially supporting memory for locations during active exploration.

Keywords: Hypothalamus; Orexin; Recognition memory; Spontaneous alternation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Female
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Hypothalamus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Orexins / metabolism
  • Orexins / physiology*
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Spatial Memory / physiology*


  • Orexins