The medial and lateral entorhinal cortex both contribute to contextual and item recognition memory: a test of the binding of items and context model

Hippocampus. 2013 May;23(5):380-91. doi: 10.1002/hipo.22097. Epub 2013 Feb 25.


It has been suggested that the role of the hippocampus for episodic memory is to selectively bind together item and contextual information. One such model, the Binding of Items and Context (BIC) model, proposed that the perirhinal cortex provides item and the postrhinal/parahippocampal cortex provides context to the hippocampus via the medial (MEC) and lateral entorhinal cortices (LEC) to be bound into an episodic representation. This model proposes that item and context information are stored and processed independently and in parallel before hippocampal processing. To evaluate this model, the present experiment evaluated the role of the MEC and LEC for item and contextual novelty detection. The present results suggest that excitotoxic lesions to the LEC primarily disrupt item novelty detection, whereas lesions to the MEC primarily disrupt contextual novelty detection. These data provide a functional double dissociation between the MEC and LEC across item and contextual processing. Despite this dissociation, the present results suggest that item and contextual information are not represented independently before hippocampal processing. These data support the basic assumptions of the BIC model, but suggest that item and context information may interact in the entorhinal cortex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Entorhinal Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Entorhinal Cortex / injuries
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiology*
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists / toxicity
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Hippocampus / injuries
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Ibotenic Acid / toxicity
  • Male
  • Memory, Episodic*
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Signal Detection, Psychological / physiology*


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists
  • Ibotenic Acid