Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Neurosci. 2012 Nov;15(11):1563-71. doi: 10.1038/nn.3224. Epub 2012 Sep 23.

Goal-oriented searching mediated by ventral hippocampus early in trial-and-error learning.

Author information

1
Friedrich Miescher Institute, Basel, Switzerland.

Abstract

Most behavioral learning in biology is trial and error, but how these learning processes are influenced by individual brain systems is poorly understood. Here we show that ventral-to-dorsal hippocampal subdivisions have specific and sequential functions in trial-and-error maze navigation, with ventral hippocampus (vH) mediating early task-specific goal-oriented searching. Although performance and strategy deployment progressed continuously at the population level, individual mice showed discrete learning phases, each characterized by particular search habits. Transitions in learning phases reflected feedforward inhibitory connectivity (FFI) growth occurring sequentially in ventral, then intermediate, then dorsal hippocampal subdivisions. FFI growth at vH occurred abruptly upon behavioral learning of goal-task relationships. vH lesions or the absence of vH FFI growth delayed early learning and disrupted performance consistency. Intermediate hippocampus lesions impaired intermediate place learning, whereas dorsal hippocampus lesions specifically disrupted late spatial learning. Trial-and-error navigational learning processes in naive mice thus involve a stereotype sequence of increasingly precise subtasks learned through distinct hippocampal subdivisions. Because of its unique connectivity, vH may relate specific goals to internal states in learning under healthy and pathological conditions.

PMID:
23001061
DOI:
10.1038/nn.3224
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center