NMDA signaling in CA1 mediates selectively the spatial component of episodic memory


Recent studies focusing on the memory for temporal order have reported that CA1 plays a critical role in the memory for the sequences of events, in addition to its well-described role in spatial navigation. In contrast, CA3 was found to principally contribute to the memory for the association of items with spatial or contextual information in tasks focusing on spatial memory. Other studies have shown that NMDA signaling in the hippocampus is critical to memory performance in studies that have investigated spatial and temporal order memory independently. However, the role of NMDA signaling separately in CA1 and CA3 in memory that combines both spatial and temporal processing demands (episodic memory) has not been examined. Here we investigated the effect of the deletion of the NR1 subunit of the NMDA receptor in CA1 or CA3 on the spatial and the temporal aspects of episodic memory, using a behavioral task that allows for these two aspects of memory to be evaluated distinctly within the same task. Under these conditions, NMDA signaling in CA1 specifically contributes to the spatial aspect of memory function and is not required to support the memory for temporal order of events.

Learn. Mem. 2012. 19: 164-169