Metabolomic profiling reveals a differential role for hippocampal glutathione reductase in infantile memory formation

Benjamin Bessières, Emmanuel Cruz, Cristina M. Alberini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The metabolic mechanisms underlying the formation of early-life episodic memories remain poorly characterized. Here, we assessed the metabolomic profile of the rat hippocampus at different developmental ages both at baseline and following episodic learning. We report that the hippocampal metabolome significantly changes over developmental ages and that learning regulates differential arrays of metabolites according to age. The infant hippocampus had the largest number of significant changes following learning, with downregulation of 54 metabolites. Of those, a large proportion was associated with the glutathione-mediated cellular defenses against oxidative stress. Further biochemical, molecular, and behavioral assessments revealed that infantile learning evokes a rapid and persistent increase in the activity of neuronal glutathione reductase, the enzyme that regenerates reduced glutathione from its oxidized form. Inhibition of glutathione reductase selectively impaired long-term memory formation in infant but not in juvenile and adult rats, confirming its age-specific role. Thus, metabolomic profiling revealed that the hippocampal glutathione-mediated antioxidant pathway is differentially required for the formation of infantile memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere68590
StatePublished - Nov 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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