Postnatal development of hippocampal CA2 structure and function during the emergence of social recognition of peers

Emma J. Diethorn, Elizabeth Gould

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

It is now well-established that the hippocampal CA2 region plays an important role in social recognition memory in adult mice. The CA2 is also important for the earliest social memories, including those that mice have for their mothers and littermates, which manifest themselves as a social preference for familiarity over novelty. The role of the CA2 in the development of social memory for recently encountered same-age conspecifics, that is, peers, has not been previously reported. Here, we used a direct social interaction test to characterize the emergence of novelty preference for peers during development and found that at the end of the second postnatal week, pups begin to significantly prefer novel over familiar peers. Using chemogenetic inhibition at this time, we showed that CA2 activity is necessary for the emergence of novelty preference and for the ability to distinguish never encountered from recently encountered peers. In adulthood, the CA2 region is known to integrate a large number of inputs from various sources, many of which participate in social recognition memory, but previous studies have not determined whether these afferents are present at adult levels by the end of the second postnatal week. To explore the development of CA2 inputs, we used immunolabeling and retrograde adenovirus circuit tracing and found that, by the end of the second postnatal week, the CA2 is innervated by many regions, including the dentate gyrus, supramammillary nucleus of the hypothalamus, the lateral entorhinal cortex, and the median raphe nucleus. Using retroviral labeling of postnatally generated granule cells in the dentate gyrus, we found that mossy fiber projections to the CA2 mature faster during development than those generated in adulthood. Together, our findings indicate that the CA2 is partially mature in afferent connectivity by the end of the second postnatal week, connections that likely facilitate the emergence of social recognition memory and preference for novel peers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHippocampus
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Keywords

  • CA2 region
  • hippocampus
  • memory
  • novelty preference
  • postnatal development
  • social behavior

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