Forgetting Processes and Cortical Dynamics

Neural plasticity of both neurons and glial cells is essential to learning and memory, and also involved in several neurological diseases.

Our team studies these plasticity processes during both memory formation and forgetting.  Indeed, while it has often been considered a deleterious process, disremembering (or forgetting) can also benefit cognitive processes, allowing us to unlearn obsolete information and prevent the emergence of disorders such as post-traumatic stress in which emotional memories must be dealt with.

Our recent work suggests that sleep could play an important role in forgetting by inducing a re-organization of synaptic and glial plasticity and of the cortical networks which subserve this process. Local inhibitory interneurons and astrocytes integrate the activity of cortical networks to modulate sleep but also memory. The diversity of interneurons also modifies their activity during the sleep-wake cycle and thus confers dynamic inhibition to the cortical networks.  In pathological condition, our group  showed that glial plasticity is altered. Astrocyte function, mainly through connexins at the interface between cell interactions, is highly disrupted in a model of neuro-inflammation (Devic's neuromyelitis optica). This alteration of glial plasticity leads to neural dysfunction and demyelination. Ongoing studies suggest that ependymal cells alterations could aslo be involved is this deleterious process.

Human resources

3 researchers CNRS

1 researcher INSERM

1 researcher professor (University of Lyon - Hospices Civils de Lyon)

1 research engineer CNRS

2 post-Doc

3 Doc

Methods and Techniques

Electrophysiology in vivo : single and multi-unit and/or intracellular recordings in freely-moving rats and mice

- Electrophysiology in vitro :  intracellular recording, optogenetic stimulation



- Biphotonic microscopy in vivo, confocal microscopy. Functional neuroanatomy, transcriptomic. Cellular, biochemical and molecular approaches

- Organotypic and primary cell cultures : glial cells, myelinated neurons, ependymocyte. Flow cytometry

- Behavioral tests - memory, emotion, motor activity-  in rats and mice - immunohistochemistry,  standard biochemical and molecular assays


- Animal models of divers pathologies : Devic's neuromyelitis optica, Alzheimer disease 

 - Plasma samples collection from neurological patients

Research Project

Our research project can be described in two main axes:

Axis 1. Neural plasticity, memory and neurological pathologies

Cortical Dynamics during Waking and Sleeping states, Synaptic Plasticity and Memory   by Luc GENTET, Régis PARMENTIER, Gaël MALLERET, Paul SALIN, Jean-Christophe COMTE

 Devic’s Neuromyelitis Optica, Alzheimer's disease and Neural Plasticity Disorder           by Romain MARIGNIER, Paul SALIN

Axis 2. Neuronal plasticity of adaptive forgetting

 Synaptic Depression and Forgetting   by Gaël MALLERET

 Sleep, Waking and Forgetting   by Gaël MALLERET, Régis PARMENTIER, Jean-Christophe COMTE, Paul SALIN





Paul SALIN