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Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2005 Sep;84(2):93-101.

Acetylcholine release in hippocampus and striatum during testing on a rewarded spontaneous alternation task.

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Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL 61820, USA.


The present experiment tested male Sprague-Dawley rats for spontaneous alternation performance in a food-rewarded Y-shaped maze. Microdialysis samples, later assessed for acetylcholine concentration, were collected from the hippocampus and striatum of each rat prior to and during testing; testing sessions lasted 20 min. Early in testing, rats alternated at a rate of 72%. Alternation scores increased throughout the 20-min testing session and reached 93% during the last 5 min. The behavioral findings suggest that, during testing, rats changed the basis for their performance from a spatial working memory strategy to a persistent turning strategy. ACh release in both hippocampus and striatum increased at the onset of testing. Increases in ACh release in the striatum began at 18% above baseline during the first 5 min of testing and steadily increased reaching 58% above baseline during the final 5 min. The progressive rise of striatum ACh release during testing occurred at about the time rats adopted a persistent turning strategy. In contrast, ACh release in the hippocampus increased by 50% with the onset of testing and remained at this level until declining slightly during the last 5 min of testing. The relative changes in ACh release in the striatum and hippocampus resulted in a close negative relationship between the ratio of ACh release in the hippocampus/striatum and alternation scores.

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