Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis and Plasticity in the Infrapyramidal Bundle of the Mossy Fiber Projection: I. Co-Regulation by Activity
Individual differences in the extent of the infrapyramidal mossy fiber projection (IIP-MF) correlate with performance in tasks sensitive to hippocampal lesions, notably two-way avoidance, radial maze learning, and swimming navigation. Previous studies of swimming navigation suggested that the capacity of reversal learning and measures of directionality might also be related to asymmetries in the distribution of the IIP-MF. In order to verify these findings, the authors crossed the Collins High- and Low-lateralized mice (known to differ in mossy fiber morphology and brain asymmetries) and obtained a F2-generation characterized by strong individual differences in these traits. Twenty-three (13 females, 10 males) mice were tested during 3 days for acquisition of swimming navigation (16 trials) toward a central platform, and during two days (12 trials) for their capacity of reversal learning toward a shifted platform. Morphometry of Timm-stained hippocampi revealed several, partially independent correlations: Larger IIP-MF projections were associated with prolonged crossing over the former platform position during the entire reversal learning; larger IIP-MF projections on the left were correlated with more precise crossing of the former platform position during the first 45 seconds of reversal learning; both extent and asymmetry of IIP-MF correlated positively with overnight improvement of reversal learning; the size of the entire mossy fiber projection (CA4, suprapyramidal and IIP-MF) correlated positively with the time spent in the platform quadrant and measures of initial orientation during acquisition of the task; and the mice showed an ipsilateral turning bias (spin) toward the side with the larger mossy fiber projection. The authors conclude that an intact hippocampus mediates differential processes underlying swimming navigation, and that left and right subfields may have differential functions.