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Neurobiol Learn Mem. 1997 Jul;68(1):32-41.

Strategies used by hippocampal- and caudate-putamen-lesioned rats in a learning task.

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  • 1Department of Psychobiology, Escola Paulista de Medicina, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brazil. Gabi.psic@epm.br


In rats, hippocampal lesions result in impairment of spatial navigation, although other learning abilities remain unaltered. When learning a left/right discrimination task, rats can use a spatial strategy (with external maze landmarks-Situation 1) or are forced to use an egocentric strategy (without external or internal maze cues-Situation 2). Little is known about the extrahippocampal systems involved in the utilization of egocentric strategy. It is suggested that striatum could play an important role in the learning abilities that are spared after hippocampal lesion. The aim of our study was to investigate which strategy is used by rats bearing hippocampal or caudate-putamen lesions in the acquisition of a left/right discrimination task in an elevated T-maze in both Situations 1 and 2. We also investigated the effect of each lesion on the reversal of discrimination in both situations. Acquisition was not altered in any of the situations; however, a transfer test showed that hippocampal-lesioned rats used a different strategy (egocentric) from control animals (spatial) in Situation 1. In addition, reversal of the discrimination was impaired in Situation 2. Caudate-putamen lesion produced a transient effect on reversal of discrimination only in the egocentric task (Situation 2), but did not impair acquisition of the task in either situation, thus suggesting that the animals were able to use either strategy.

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