The dentate gyrus (DG) subregion of the hippocampus has been shown to be involved in encoding but not retrieval in a spatial maze task (modified Hebb-Williams maze). The first experiment in this study examined whether a lesion to the CA3 would contribute to a similar encoding deficit. A DG group was included in order to replicate previous results. Relative to controls, animals receiving CA3 lesions were impaired in encoding, not retrieval, on the modified Hebb-Williams maze - similar to a group that received DG lesions. This suggests the possibility that CA3 and DG are working together to mediate encoding processes. The second experiment in this study was designed to test the interaction between CA3 and DG using a disconnection paradigm. Animals with contralateral lesions (CA3 lesioned in one hemisphere, DG lesioned in the other hemisphere) showed a significant disruption effect on encoding, but not retrieval, when compared with animals with ipsilateral lesions (CA3 and DG lesioned in the same hemisphere, leaving the other hemisphere intact). This suggests an interaction between CA3 and DG in supporting encoding but not retrieval processes in a spatial maze learning task.
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