Effects of hippocampal cholinergic deafferentation on learning strategy selection in a visible platform version of the water maze

Jennifer L. Bizon, J. S. Han, C. Hudon, M. Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Recent evidence has suggested that the relative levels of acetylcholine (ACh) between brain structures may be an important factor in the choice of behavioral strategy in settings in which either hippocampal or dorsal striatal brain systems can be employed both effectively and independently (McIntyre and Gold. 1999. Soc Neurosci Abs 25:1388). The current investigation used the neurotoxin 192 IgG-saporin to deplete the hippocampus of ACh selectively, while leaving ACh in other brain regions, including dorsal striatum, intact. Rats were then trained on a version of the Morris water maze, in which behavioral strategies attributed to the hippocampus and dorsal striatum are placed in direct competition. It was predicted that rats with hippocampal ACh depletion would display a cue bias. Contrary to this prediction, depleting hippocampal ACh did not bias against and, in fact, promoted use of a hippocampal place strategy in this task, as indicated by choice in competition tests and performance on hidden platform training trials. These data add to a growing literature demonstrating that the septohippocampal cholinergic system is not required for accurate spatial learning and suggest a complex role for basal forebrain projections in processing information about the spatial environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)676-684
Number of pages9
JournalHippocampus
Volume13
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 22 2003

Keywords

  • 192 IgG-saporin
  • Acetylcholine
  • Basal forebrain
  • Cue learning
  • Memory
  • Place learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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