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Although a number of studies have implicated the hippocampal formation in social recognition memory in the rat, a recent study in this laboratory has demonstrated that selective cytotoxic lesions, confined to the hippocampus proper (encompassing the four CA subfields and the dentate gyrus), are without effect on this behaviour. This finding suggests that the hippocampus proper does not subserve social recognition memory in the rat, but does not preclude the possibility that other areas of the hippocampal formation, such as the entorhinal cortex or subiculum, could support this form of learning. The present study addressed this issue by examining the effects of selective cytotoxic retrohippocampal (RHR) lesions (including both the entorhinal cortex and subiculum) on social recognition memory in the rat. RHR lesions produced a mild social recognition memory impairment, although lesioned animals still displayed a reduction in investigation time between the first and second exposure to the juvenile. This result is consistent with other studies which have implicated the retrohippocampal or parahippocampal area in olfactory recognition memory processes. It also suggests, however, that other areas, out with the retrohippocampal region, are also likely to play an important role in social recognition memory.

Original publication




Journal article


Exp Brain Res

Publication Date





395 - 401


Age Factors, Animals, Discrimination Learning, Entorhinal Cortex, Hippocampus, Male, Memory Disorders, Neurons, Neurotoxins, Rats, Rats, Inbred Strains, Reaction Time, Recognition (Psychology), Smell, Social Behavior