The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Encoding and retrieval of artificial visuoauditory memory traces in the auditory cortex requires the entorhinal cortex.

PMID 23761892


Damage to the medial temporal lobe impairs the encoding of new memories and the retrieval of memories acquired immediately before the damage in human. In this study, we demonstrated that artificial visuoauditory memory traces can be established in the rat auditory cortex and that their encoding and retrieval depend on the entorhinal cortex of the medial temporal lobe in the rat. We trained rats to associate a visual stimulus with electrical stimulation of the auditory cortex using a classical conditioning protocol. After conditioning, we examined the associative memory traces electrophysiologically (i.e., visual stimulus-evoked responses of auditory cortical neurons) and behaviorally (i.e., visual stimulus-induced freezing and visual stimulus-guided reward retrieval). The establishment of a visuoauditory memory trace in the auditory cortex, which was detectable by electrophysiological recordings, was achieved over 20-30 conditioning trials and was blocked by unilateral, temporary inactivation of the entorhinal cortex. Retrieval of a previously established visuoauditory memory was also affected by unilateral entorhinal cortex inactivation. These findings suggest that the entorhinal cortex is necessary for the encoding and involved in the retrieval of artificial visuoauditory memory in the auditory cortex, at least during the early stages of memory consolidation.