Hippocampus and striatum: dynamics and interaction during acquisition and sleep-related motor sequence memory consolidation

Hippocampus. 2013 Nov;23(11):985-1004. doi: 10.1002/hipo.22183.


While several models of memory consolidation have previously associated hippocampal activity with declarative memory, there is now increasing evidence that the hippocampus also plays a crucial role in procedural memory. Here, we review recent human functional neuroimaging studies demonstrating that the hippocampus is involved in the acquisition and sleep-related consolidation of procedural memories, and motor sequence-based skills in particular. More specifically, we present evidence that hippocampal activity and its functional interactions with other brain structures, particularly competition with the striatum, contribute to initial learning of sequential motor behavior. Interestingly, these early cerebral representations in the hippocampus and striatum, which may interact through the prefrontal cortex, can even predict subsequent sleep-related memory consolidation processes. We propose that sleep can reorganize the activity within, as well as the functional interactions between, these structures, ultimately favoring overnight performance enhancement. Finally, we conclude by offering insights into the respective roles of these structures in procedural memory consolidation processes. We argue that, in the context of motor sequence memory consolidation, the hippocampal system triggers subsequent sleep-dependent performance enhancement whereas the striatal system is involved in the maintenance of the motor behavior over time.

Keywords: fMRI; hippocampus; motor sequence memory consolidation; sleep; striatum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motor Skills / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Systems Biology