Objects and their locations can associatively define an event and a conjoint representation of object-place can form an event memory. Remembering how to respond to a certain object in a spatial context is dependent on both hippocampus and perirhinal cortex (PER). However, the relative functional contributions of the two regions are largely unknown in object-place associative memory. We investigated the PER influence on hippocampal firing in a goal-directed object-place memory task by comparing the firing patterns of CA1 and CA3 of the dorsal hippocampus between conditions of PER muscimol inactivation and vehicle control infusions. Rats were required to choose one of the two objects in a specific spatial context (regardless of the object positions in the context), which was shown to be dependent on both hippocampus and PER. Inactivation of PER with muscimol (MUS) severely disrupted performance of well-trained rats, resulting in response bias (i.e., choosing any object on a particular side). MUS did not significantly alter the baseline firing rates of hippocampal neurons. We measured the similarity in firing patterns between two trial conditions in which the same target objects were chosen on opposite sides within the same arm [object-in-place (O-P) strategy] and compared the results with the similarity in firing between two trial conditions in which the rat chose any object encountered on a particular side [response-in-place (R-P) strategy]. We found that the similarity in firing patterns for O-P trials was significantly reduced with MUS compared to control conditions (CTs). Importantly, this was largely because MUS injections affected the O-P firing patterns in CA1 neurons, but not in CA3. The results suggest that PER is critical for goal-directed organization of object-place associative memory in the hippocampus presumably by influencing how object information is associated with spatial information in CA1 according to task demand.
Lee, I., & Park, S.-B. (2013). Perirhinal cortical inactivation impairs object-in-place memory and disrupts task-dependent firing in hippocampal CA1, but not in CA3. Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 7. https://doi.org/10.3389/fncir.2013.00134