The Ventral Dentate Gyrus Mediates Pattern Separation for Reward Value

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Rats with ventral dentate gyrus (DG) lesions, sham lesions, and controls were run in a runway for 20 pellets of food. After reaching running speed asymptote, the number of pellets was reduced to 1, 9, or 17 pellets. The purpose of the present experiment was to determine whether the ventral DG subregion of the hippocampus plays a role in pattern separation for reward value. The results indicated that sham lesioned and control rats displayed a graded decrease in runway velocities, supporting a pattern separation process. In contrast, ventral DG lesioned rats continued to maintain runway velocities regardless of the reward-value shifts. The ventral DG lesion results do not appear to be due to hyperactivity but could be based on the idea that the ventral DG is part of a decision-making circuitry to predict goal-relevant reward outcomes.

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