Supramammillary serotonin reduction alters place learning and concomitant hippocampal, septal, and supramammillar theta activity in a Morris water maze
Author(s)Hernández-Pérez, J. Jesús
Gutiérrez-Guzmán, Blanca E.
López-Vázquez, Miguel Á.
Olvera-Cortés, María E.
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AbstractHippocampal theta activity is related to spatial information processing, and high-frequency theta activity, in particular, has been linked to efficient spatial memory performance. Theta activity is regulated by the synchronizing ascending system (SAS), which includes mesencephalic and diencephalic relays. The supramamillary nucleus (SUMn) is located between the reticularis pontis oralis and the medial septum (MS), in close relation with the posterior hypothalamic nucleus (PHn), all of which are part of this ascending system. It has been proposed that the SUMn plays a role in the modulation of hippocampal theta-frequency; this could occur through direct connections between the SUMn and the hippocampus or through the influence of the SUMn on the MS. Serotonergic raphe neurons prominently innervate the hippocampus and several components of the SAS, including the SUMn. Serotonin desynchronizes hippocampal theta activity, and it has been proposed that serotonin may regulate learning through the modulation of hippocampal synchrony. In agreement with this hypothesis, serotonin depletion in the SUMn/PHn results in deficient spatial learning and alterations in CA1 theta activity-related learning in a Morris water maze. Because it has been reported that SUMn inactivation with lidocaine impairs the consolidation of reference memory, we asked whether changes in hippocampal theta activity related to learning would occur through serotonin depletion in the SUMn, together with deficiencies in memory. We infused 5,7-DHT bilaterally into the SUMn in rats and evaluated place learning in the standard Morris water maze task. Hippocampal (CA1 and dentate gyrus), septal and SUMn EEG were recorded during training of the test. The EEG power in each region and the coherence between the different regions were evaluated. Serotonin depletion in the SUMn induced deficient spatial learning and altered the expression of hippocampal high-frequency theta activity. These results provide evidence in support of a role for serotonin as a modulator of hippocampal learning, acting through changes in the synchronicity evoked in several relays of the SAS.