Incidental memory can be challenged by increasing either the retention delay or the memory load. The dorsal hippocampus (dHP) appears to help with both consolidation from short-term (STM) to long-term memory (LTM), and higher memory loads, but the mechanism is not fully understood. Here we find that female mice, despite having the same STM capacity of 6 objects and higher resistance to distraction in our different object recognition task (DOT), when tested over 1 h or 24 h delays appear to transfer to LTM only 4 objects, whereas male mice have an STM capacity of 6 objects in this task. In male mice the dHP shows greater activation (as measured by c-Fos expression), whereas female mice show greater activation of the ventral midline thalamus (VMT). Optogenetic inhibition of the VMT-dHP pathway during off-line memory consolidation enables 6-object LTM retention in females, while chemogenetic VMT-activation impairs it in males. Thus, removing or enhancing sub-cortical inhibitory control over the hippocampus leads to differences in incidental memory.
Authors: G. Torromino, V. Loffredo, D. Cavezza, G. Sonsini, F. Esposito, A. H. Crevenna , M. Gioffrè , M. De Risi, A. Treves , M. Griguoli & E. De Leonibus
Sources: Nature Communications