Chapter

The dentate gyrus

Alessandro Treves

in Computational Theories and their Implementation in the Brain

Published in print November 2016 | ISBN: 9780198749783
Published online January 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191831638 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198749783.003.0005
The dentate gyrus

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The dentate gyrus is one subdivision of the mammalian hippocampus that has no clear correspondence in birds or reptiles, despite any superficial homology. It is characterized by sparse and powerful unidirectional projections to CA3 pyramidal cells, the so-called mossy fibers. Mossy fiber synapses appear to duplicate, in terms of the information they convey, what CA3 cells already receive from entorhinal cortex layer II cells, which project both to the dentate gyrus and to CA3. It is thus at the same time the most striking component within the structure in our brain which is critical for memory formation, and the component that is most difficult to understand. David Marr, in his theory for archicortex, gave up trying to understand the dentate gyrus. Yet, the intellectual trajectory trail blazed by Marr’s ideas has led, decades later, to make sense of the dentate gyrus, and to appreciate, almost by absurdum, the power of Marr’s intuition, which was way more advanced than the tools, mathematical and empirical, which he had at his disposal.

Keywords: associative retrieval; autoassociative network; storage capacity; medial pallium; orthogonalization; random number generator; recurrent collaterals; theoretical neuroscience

Chapter.  7170 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuropsychology

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