Assessments of Dentate Gyrus Function: Discoveries and Debates
Mia Borzello, Steve Ramirez, Alessandro Treves, Inah Lee, Helen Scharfman, Craig Stark, James J. Knierim, Lara M. Rangel
Year of publication
Publication in journal
Nature Reviews Neuroscience
in press
The enigmatic dentate gyrus (DG), a subregion of the mammalian hippocampus, has spawned diverse speculation regarding its function in learning and memory. In this Perspective, we compare leading theories regarding its function and note that all theories critically rely on the generation of distinct patterns of activity in the region to signal differences between experiences and reduce interference between memories. However, these theories are divided by 1) the roles they attribute to the DG during learning and recall and 2) the contributions they ascribe to specific inputs or cell types within the DG. These differences impact the information that the DG is thought to impart upon downstream structures. We work toward a holistic view by first developing three critical questions to foster a dialogue between leading theories. We then evaluate the extent to which previous studies address our questions, highlight remaining areas of conflict, and suggest future experiments to bridge theories.