The Hippocampus

Marion Wright
2017 Wikijournal of Medicine  
The hippocampus (named after its resemblance to the seahorse, from the Greek ἱππόκαμπος, "seahorse" from ἵππος hippos, "horse" and κάμπος kampos, "sea monster") is a major component of the brains of humans and other vertebrates. Humans and other mammals have two hippocampi, one in each side of the brain. It belongs to the limbic system and plays important roles in the consolidation of information from short-term memory to long-term memory and spatial memory that enables navigation. The
more » ... us is located under the cerebral cortex; (allocortical) [1] [2] [3] and in primates it is located in the medial temporal lobe, underneath the cortical surface. It contains two main interlocking parts: the hippocampus proper (also called Ammon's horn) [4] and the dentate gyrus. In Alzheimer's disease (and other forms of dementia), the hippocampus is one of the first regions of the brain to suffer damage; short-term memory loss and disorientation are included among the early symptoms. Damage to the hippocampus can also result from oxygen starvation (hypoxia), encephalitis, or medial temporal lobe epilepsy. People with extensive, bilateral hippocampal damage may experience anterograde amnesia (the inability to form and retain new memories). In rodents as model organisms, the hippocampus has been studied extensively as part of a brain system responsible for spatial memory and navigation. Many neurons in the rat and mouse hippocampus respond as place cells: that is, they fire bursts of action potentials when the animal passes through a specific part of its environment. Hippocampal place cells interact extensively with head direction cells, whose activity acts as an inertial compass, and conjecturally with grid cells in the neighboring entorhinal cortex.
doi:10.15347/wjm/2017.003 fatcat:l3goqe33uvcj3g5w62w7qkfmbq