Processing of spatial and non-spatial information in rats with lesions of the medial and lateral entorhinal cortex: Environmental complexity matters.

AUTHORS

  • Rodo C
  • Sargolini F
  • Save Etienne

keywords

  • Entorhinal cortex
  • Exploration
  • Rat
  • Spatial cognition

Document type

ART

ABSTRACT

The entorhinal-hippocampal circuitry has been suggested to play an important role in episodic memory but the contribution of the entorhinal cortex remains elusive. Predominant theories propose that the medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) processes spatial information whereas the lateral entorhinal cortex (LEC) processes non spatial information. A recent study using an object exploration task has suggested that the involvement of the MEC and LEC spatial and non-spatial information processing could be modulated by the amount of information to be processed, i.e. environmental complexity. To address this hypothesis we used an object exploration task in which rats with excitotoxic lesions of the MEC and LEC had to detect spatial and non-spatial novelty among a set of objects and we varied environmental complexity by decreasing the number of objects or amount of object diversity. Reducing diversity resulted in restored ability to process spatial and non-spatial information in MEC and LEC groups, respectively. Reducing the number of objects yielded restored ability to process non-spatial information in the LEC group but not the ability to process spatial information in the MEC group. The findings indicate that the MEC and LEC are not strictly necessary for spatial and non-spatial processing but that their involvement depends on the complexity of the information to be processed.

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