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Neuroscience. 2006 Jul 7;140(3):759-67. Epub 2006 Mar 31.

Neonatal lesions of the ventral hippocampus in rats lead to prefrontal cognitive deficits at two maturational stages.

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Ecole de psychologie, Université Laval, Québec, Canada G1K 7P4.


This experiment assessed the effect of neonatal ventral hippocampus lesions in rats, a heuristic approach to model schizophrenia, on continuous delayed alternation and conditional discrimination learning performance before and after complete cerebral maturation. Delays (0, 5, 15, and 30 s) were introduced in the tasks to help dissociate between a hippocampal and a prefrontal cortex dysfunction. At postnatal day (PND) 6 or 7, rats received bilateral microinjections of ibotenic acid or phosphate-buffered saline in the ventral hippocampus. From PND 26 to PND 35, rats were tested on the alternation task in a T-maze; from PND 47 to PND 85, the same rats were tested in the discrimination task where a stimulus and a response location had to be paired. Deficits in ventral hippocampus-lesioned rats were observed in both tasks whether a delay was introduced before a response or not. Impaired performance regardless of delay length, combined with high rates of perseverative errors, suggested a post-lesional prefrontal cortex dysfunction which persisted from the juvenile stage into adulthood. Premature cognitive impairments could not be predicted on the basis of the neurodevelopmental animal model of schizophrenia. Nevertheless, they appear consistent with accounts of premorbidly compromised memory, both immediate and delayed, in subgroups of schizophrenia patients.

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