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Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2003 Nov;80(3):332-42.

Cholinergic modulation of the hippocampus during encoding and retrieval.

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1
Department of Psychology, University of Utah, 380 South 1530 East Room 502, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.

Abstract

The present experiments were aimed at determining whether acetylcholine (ACh) plays a role in encoding and retrieval of spatial information using a modified Hebb-Williams maze. In addition, the present experiments tested two computational models of hippocampal function during encoding and retrieval using a maze sensitive to hippocampal disruption. Thirty male, Long-Evans rats served as subjects. Chronic cannulae were implanted bilaterally into the CA3 (n=26) and CA1 (n=5) subregions of the hippocampus. Rats were tested using a modified Hebb-Williams maze. In the first experiment, rats were injected with either saline or scopolamine hydrobromide 10 min before testing for each day. The number of errors made per day per group was used as the measure of learning. Encoding was assessed by the average number of errors made on the first five trials of Day 1 compared to the last five trials of Day 1, whereas the average number of errors made on the first five trials of Day 2 compared to the last five trials of Day I was used to assess retrieval. No deficit was found for the saline group. The scopolamine group showed a deficit in encoding, but not retrieval. In the second experiment, rats were injected with either saline or physostigmine 10 min before testing each day. In contrast to the scopolamine groups, the physostigmine group showed a deficit in retrieval, but not encoding. To test whether the retrieval deficit was due to a disruption in storage or gaining access to the information two groups of rats received either saline on Day 1 and physostigmine on Day 2 or physostigmine on Day 1 and saline on Day 2. In addition, one group received physostigmine immediately after testing on Day 1. Data indicate that physostigmine causes a disruption of retrieval by means of a disruption in consolidation process. In conclusion, the cholinergic antagonist, scopolamine, disrupts encoding in both CA3 and CA1 subregions of the hippocampus. Furthermore, the cholinesterase inhibitor, physostigmine, boosts ACh action during a time when cholinergic levels need to decline for proper consolidation.

PMID:
14521875
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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