Differential role of the dorsal hippocampus, ventro-intermediate hippocampus, and medial prefrontal cortex in updating the value of a spatial goal

Authors

  • Paul De Saint Blanquat,

    1. Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience, Neural Basis of Spatial Cognition Team, Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, Fédération 3C FR 3512, Marseille, France
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    • P. De Saint Blanquat and V. Hok contributed equally to this work.

  • Vincent Hok,

    1. Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience, Neural Basis of Spatial Cognition Team, Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, Fédération 3C FR 3512, Marseille, France
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    • P. De Saint Blanquat and V. Hok contributed equally to this work.

  • Etienne Save,

    1. Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience, Neural Basis of Spatial Cognition Team, Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, Fédération 3C FR 3512, Marseille, France
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  • Bruno Poucet,

    1. Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience, Neural Basis of Spatial Cognition Team, Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, Fédération 3C FR 3512, Marseille, France
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  • Franck A. Chaillan

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience, Neural Basis of Spatial Cognition Team, Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, Fédération 3C FR 3512, Marseille, France
    • Centre St Charles - Pôle 3C - Bât 9 - Case C, Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience, UMR-CNRS 7291, 13331 Marseille Cedex 3, France
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Abstract

Encoding of a goal with a specific value while performing a place navigation task involves the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and the dorsal hippocampus (dHPC), and depends on the coordination between mPFC and the ventro-intermediate hippocampus (vHPC).The present work investigates the contribution of mPFC, dHPC, and vHPC when the rat has to update the value of a goal. Rats were trained to navigate to an uncued goal in order to release a food pellet in a continuous place navigation task. When they had reached criterion performance level in the task, they were subjected to a single “flash session” in which they were exposed to an aversive strobe light during goal visits instead of receiving a food reward. Just before the flash session, the GABAA agonist muscimol was injected to temporarily inactivate mPFC, dHPC, or vHPC. The ability to recall the changed value of the goal was tested on the next day. We first demonstrate the aversive effect of the strobe light by showing that rats learn to avoid the goal much more rapidly in the flash session than during a simple extinction session in which goal visits are not rewarded. Furthermore, while dHPC inactivation had no effect on learning and recalling the new goal value, vHPC muscimol injections considerably delayed goal value updating during the flash session, which resulted in a slight deficit during recall. In contrast, mPFC muscimol injections induced faster goal value updating but the rats were markedly impaired on recalling the new goal value on the next day. These results suggest that, contrary to mPFC and dHPC, vHPC is required for updating the value of a goal. In contrast, mPFC is necessary for long-term retention of this updating. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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