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J Neurosci Methods. 2000 Oct 30;102(2):155-64.

Passive and active place avoidance as a tool of spatial memory research in rats.

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Institute of Physiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic. psicobio@correo.uniovi.ed


A modified model of the arena described by Bures et al. (Bures J, Fenton AA, Kaminsky Y, Zinyuk L. Place cells and place navigation, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 1997a;94:343-350) was applied to the place learning of adult male rats in two different avoidance paradigms. In the passive avoidance task rats exploring a stationary circular arena had to avoid a 60 degrees sector entering of which was punished by mild footshocks. Intramaze as well as extramaze cues could be used for adequate solution of this task. In the active avoidance paradigm rats were trained to avoid a room frame defined sector (e.g. North-East) of a slowly rotating arena the movement of which forced the animals to rely on extramaze cues and to ignore intramaze information. Rats had to find an active solution of the task since otherwise they were passively transported into the room frame defined punished zone. The suitability of these tasks for testing spatial abilities of rats is discussed.

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