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Behav Brain Res. 2002 Jun 15;133(1):57-68.

Effects of cytotoxic hippocampal lesions in mice on a cognitive test battery.

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Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, UK.


Mice received cytotoxic lesions which selectively removed all of the hippocampus and dentate gyrus except the most ventral portions. They were impaired on both spontaneous and rewarded discrete-trial alternation in T-mazes. Acquisition of reference memory for the location of a hidden platform in the Morris water maze was impaired in lesioned mice. On an elevated Y-maze reference memory task, in which only one arm was rewarded, lesioned mice showed no evidence of learning. In a Lashley III maze task, however, where maze rotation demonstrated that control performance was independent of distal spatial cues, acquisition in the lesioned mice was unimpaired. Control levels of continuous spontaneous alternation in a Y-maze were too low to reveal a hippocampal deficit. A small impairment in acquisition of a multiple-trial passive avoidance task was seen in lesioned mice, despite a small but significant increase in reactivity to the footshock. These results are largely consistent with findings in hippocampal lesioned rats on the same or similar tasks, and reflect a major impairment of spatial cognition, with relative sparing of non-spatial task performance.

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