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Neuron. 2005 Jun 2;46(5):703-13.

The hippocampal-VTA loop: controlling the entry of information into long-term memory.

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Department of Biology, Brandeis University, 415 South Street, Waltham, Massachusetts 02454, USA.


In this article we develop the concept that the hippocampus and the midbrain dopaminergic neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) form a functional loop. Activation of the loop begins when the hippocampus detects newly arrived information that is not already stored in its long-term memory. The resulting novelty signal is conveyed through the subiculum, accumbens, and ventral pallidum to the VTA where it contributes (along with salience and goal information) to the novelty-dependent firing of these cells. In the upward arm of the loop, dopamine (DA) is released within the hippocampus; this produces an enhancement of LTP and learning. These findings support a model whereby the hippocampal-VTA loop regulates the entry of information into long-term memory.

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