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Neuroscience. 2004;127(2):289-300.

Dissociation of function within the hippocampus: effects of dorsal, ventral and complete excitotoxic hippocampal lesions on spatial navigation.

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Laboratory of Behavioural Neurobiology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Schorenstrasse 16, CH 8603 Schwerzenbach, Switzerland.


The present study was designed to assess the possibility that sub-total ventral hippocampal lesions might leave intact a mechanism for only highly accurate navigation, whereas sub-total dorsal hippocampal lesions might leave intact a mechanism only for less precise navigation. Animals with selective dorsal, ventral or complete hippocampal lesions were tested in a water maze, in which the target platform was moved from trial to trial, but always within a defined area, instead of being at a fixed location. Hence, an animal that searched at exactly the point where the platform had been found on a previous trial would be disadvantaged, in comparison with an animal that searched in the right general area. This might favor animals capable of less precise navigation over those with very precise navigational abilities. In subsequent phases of the experiment, we additionally assessed, for comparison, performance with a fixed platform location, reversal learning in the water-maze, and performance on an elevated T-maze. Our results revealed no sign of any qualitative difference between the effects of the selective sub-total lesions when the water maze hidden platform location was varied within the defined area, and the effects in subsequent more conventionally used tests. Ventral hippocampal damage never led to a performance deficit. Dorsal hippocampal damage led to significantly poorer performance in only some test phases, and never led to any sign of improved performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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