Lesion studies have provided evidence that the entorhinal cortex (EC) participates in spatial memory. However, the molecular cascades that underlie memory-associated changes in the EC and its specific role in spatial memory, however, have not been clearly delineated. Recently, it has been shown that activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk, a mitogen-activated protein kinase family member) in the dorsal hippocampus is necessary for spatial memory. To examine whether similar mechanisms are used for spatial memory storage in the EC, Erk activity was inhibited after training in the Morris water maze. Bilateral infusion of the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase inhibitor PD098059 into the EC immediately after training resulted in a memory deficit observed during a retention test performed 48 h later. This deficit was abolished with pretraining in a different water maze in which animals were able to learn the general task requirements and the appropriate search strategies. The absence of a deficit indicates that Erk activity in the EC may be involved in storing the task requirements or the search strategies. The findings presented in this article are consistent with the idea that the EC is involved in spatial memory and indicate that Erk activity is necessary for memory consolidation in this structure
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