Representation of three-dimensional objects by the rat perirhinal cortex

Hippocampus. 2012 Oct;22(10):2032-44. doi: 10.1002/hipo.22060.


The perirhinal cortex (PRC) is known to play an important role in object recognition. Little is known, however, regarding the activity of PRC neurons during the presentation of stimuli that are commonly used for recognition memory tasks in rodents, that is, three-dimensional objects. Rats in the present study were exposed to three-dimensional objects while they traversed a circular track for food reward. Under some behavioral conditions, the track contained novel objects, familiar objects, or no objects. Approximately 38% of PRC neurons demonstrated "object fields" (a selective increase in firing at the location of one or more objects). Although the rats spent more time exploring the objects when they were novel compared to familiar, indicating successful recognition memory, the proportion of object fields and the firing rates of PRC neurons were not affected by the rats' previous experience with the objects. Together, these data indicate that the activity of PRC cells is powerfully affected by the presence of objects while animals navigate through an environment; but under these conditions, the firing patterns are not altered by the relative novelty of objects during successful object recognition.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Reward*