Separable roles of hippocampal granule cells in forgetting and pyramidal cells in remembering spatial information

Timothy J. Collier*, Gregory J. Quirk, Aryeh Routtenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


To investigate the roles individual hippocampal cell groups play in processing of spatial information for memory, we administered low-intensity electrical stimulation to the granule cells, CA3 and CA1 pyramidal cells of the dorsal hippocampus at selected times before and after acquisition of the solution to a radial maze win-stay task. Stimulation of any of the 3 cell populations yielded a variable duration anterograde disruption of memory performance, while stimulation of dentate gyrus granule cells alone produced a declarative memory-specific retrograde amnesia. The amnestic effect of granule cell stimulation was not associated with afterdischarges in the hippocampus and was prevented by systemic administration of the opiate antagonist naloxone. Our results support the view that this electrical stimulus does not disrupt, but rather, activates the normal function of the granule cell system, resulting in erasure of information held in declarative memory. In contrast, similar activation of the pyramidal cell system does not yield retrograde amnesia, suggesting a normal role for these cells in promoting memory for spatial information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-328
Number of pages13
JournalBrain research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 21 1987


  • Electrical stimulation
  • Hippocampus
  • Naloxone
  • Spatial memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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