The present study examined immediate-early gene expression in the perirhinal cortex of rats with hippocampal lesions. The goal was to test those models of recognition memory which assume that the perirhinal cortex can function independently of the hippocampus. The c-fos gene was targeted, as its expression in the perirhinal cortex is strongly associated with recognition memory. Four groups of rats were examined. Rats with hippocampal lesions and their surgical controls were given either a recognition memory task (novel vs. familiar objects) or a relative recency task (objects with differing degrees of familiarity). Perirhinal Fos expression in the hippocampal-lesioned groups correlated with both recognition and recency performance. The hippocampal lesions, however, had no apparent effect on overall levels of perirhinal or entorhinal cortex c-fos expression in response to novel objects, with only restricted effects being seen in the recency condition. Network analyses showed that whereas the patterns of parahippocampal interactions were differentially affected by novel or familiar objects, these correlated networks were not altered by hippocampal lesions. Additional analyses in control rats revealed two modes of correlated medial temporal activation. Novel stimuli recruited the pathway from the lateral entorhinal cortex (cortical layer II or III) to hippocampal field CA3, and thence to CA1. Familiar stimuli recruited the direct pathway from the lateral entorhinal cortex (principally layer III) to CA1. The present findings not only reveal the independence from the hippocampus of some perirhinal systems associated with recognition memory, but also show how novel stimuli engage hippocampal subfields in qualitatively different ways from familiar stimuli.
- Models, Neurological
- Neuropsychological Tests
- Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos/metabolism
- Recognition, Psychology/physiology
- Temporal Lobe/physiopathology