The hippocampal-VTA loop: controlling the entry of information into long-term memory

Neuron. 2005 Jun 2;46(5):703-13. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2005.05.002.


In this article we develop the concept that the hippocampus and the midbrain dopaminergic neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) form a functional loop. Activation of the loop begins when the hippocampus detects newly arrived information that is not already stored in its long-term memory. The resulting novelty signal is conveyed through the subiculum, accumbens, and ventral pallidum to the VTA where it contributes (along with salience and goal information) to the novelty-dependent firing of these cells. In the upward arm of the loop, dopamine (DA) is released within the hippocampus; this produces an enhancement of LTP and learning. These findings support a model whereby the hippocampal-VTA loop regulates the entry of information into long-term memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Ventral Tegmental Area / physiology*