How visual scene memory is processed differentially by the upstream structures of the hippocampus is largely unknown. We sought to dissociate functionally the lateral and medial subdivisions of the entorhinal cortex (LEC and MEC, respectively) in visual scene-dependent tasks by temporarily inactivating the LEC and MEC in the same rat. When the rat made spatial choices in a T-maze using visual scenes displayed on LCD screens, the inactivation of the MEC but not the LEC produced severe deficits in performance. However, when the task required the animal to push a jar or to dig in the sand in the jar using the same scene stimuli, the LEC but not the MEC became important. Our findings suggest that the entorhinal cortex is critical for scene-dependent mnemonic behavior, and the response modality may interact with a sensory modality to determine the involvement of the LEC and MEC in scene-based memory tasks.
Keywords: context; entorhinal cortex; hippocampus; memory; neuroscience; object; rat; scene.