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Recognition memory, the discrimination of a novel from a familiar event, can be classified into item recognition and associative recognition. Item recognition concerns the identification of novel individual stimuli, while associative recognition concerns the detection of novelty that arises when familiar items are reconfigured in a novel manner. Experiments in rodents that have mapped the expression of immediate-early genes, e.g., c-fos, highlight key differences between these two forms of recognition memory. Visual item novelty is consistently linked to increased c-fos activity in just two brain sites, the perirhinal cortex and the adjacent visual association area Te2. Typically there are no hippocampal c-fos changes. In contrast, visual associative recognition is consistently linked to c-fos activity changes in the hippocampus, but not the perirhinal cortex. The lack of a c-fos perirhinal change with associative recognition presumably reflects the fact that the individual items in an array remain familiar, even though their combinations are unique. Those exceptions, when item recognition is associated with hippocampal c-fos changes, occur when rats actively explore novel objects. The increased engagement with objects will involve multisensory stimulus processing and potentially create conditions in which rats can readily learn stimulus attributes such as object location or object order, i.e., attributes involved in associative recognition. Correlations based on levels of immediate-early gene expression in the temporal lobe indicate that actively exploring novel stimuli switches patterns of entorhinal-hippocampal functional connectivity to emphasise direct entorhinal-dentate gyrus processing. These gene activity findings help to distinguish models of medial temporal lobe function.
|Publication status||Published - 2012|