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Neural Plasticity
Volume 11 (2004), Issue 3-4, Pages 151-158

From the Search for a Molecular Code of Memory to the Role of Neurotransmitters: A Historical Perspective

“Vulnérabilité, Adaptation et Psychopathologie”, CNRS UMR 7593, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, 91 Bd de l'Hôpital, Paris cedex 13 75634, France

Copyright © 2004 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The history of the neurochemistry of mnesic processes can be divided into two main periods: the first (1946-1978) was inspired by the results of molecular genetics, providing evidence for storage of hereditary information in the DNA of genes. Therefore, the chemical bases for memory were investigated in the macromolecules of the brain. Such attempts were relatively unsuccessful, which led to a second period (starting in 1978) with the research emphasizing, in a less ambitious way, the role of the molecular correlates of mnesic processes, in particular in the main transmitter systems of the brain.