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J Neurosci Res. 2005 Jun 1;80(5):727-37.

Pontine-wave generator activation-dependent memory processing of avoidance learning involves the dorsal hippocampus in the rat.

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Sleep and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry and Program in Behavioral Neuroscience, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that the dorsal hippocampus plays a critical role in pontine-wave (P-wave) generator activation-dependent memory processing of two-way active avoidance (TWAA) learning. To achieve this objective, rats were given small bilateral lesions in the CA1, dentate gyrus (DG), or CA3 region of the dorsal hippocampus by microinjecting ibotenic acid. After recovery, lesioned and sham-lesioned rats were trained on a TWAA learning paradigm, allowed a 6-hr period of undisturbed sleep, and then were tested on the same TWAA paradigm. It was found that lesions in the CA3 region impaired retention of avoidance learning. Conversely, lesions in the CA1 and DG regions had no effect on TWAA learning retention. None of the groups showed any changes in the baseline sleep-wake cycle or in the acquisition of TWAA learning. All rats showed increased rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and increased REM sleep P-wave density during the subsequent 6-hr recording period. Impaired retention in the CA3 group occurred despite an increase in REM sleep and P-wave density, suggesting that during REM sleep, the P-wave generator interacts with the CA3 region of the dorsal hippocampus to aid in consolidation of TWAA learning. The results of the present study thus demonstrate that P-wave generator activation-dependent consolidation of memory requires an intact CA3 subfield of the dorsal hippocampus. The results also provide evidence that under mnemonic pressure, the dorsal hippocampus may not be involved directly in regulating the sleep-wake cycle.

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