Research Article

Pattern Separation in the Dentate Gyrus and CA3 of the Hippocampus

Science  16 Feb 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5814, pp. 961-966
DOI: 10.1126/science.1135801

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Abstract

Theoretical models have long pointed to the dentate gyrus as a possible source of neuronal pattern separation. In agreement with predictions from these models, we show that minimal changes in the shape of the environment in which rats are exploring can substantially alter correlated activity patterns among place-modulated granule cells in the dentate gyrus. When the environments are made more different, new cell populations are recruited in CA3 but not in the dentate gyrus. These results imply a dual mechanism for pattern separation in which signals from the entorhinal cortex can be decorrelated both by changes in coincidence patterns in the dentate gyrus and by recruitment of nonoverlapping cell assemblies in CA3.

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