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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Systematic comparison of the effects of hippocampal and fornix-fimbria lesions on acquisition of three configural discriminations.

The effects of lesions to the hippocampal system on acquisition of three different configural tasks by rats were tested. Lesions of either the hippocampus (kainic acid/colchicine) or fornix-fimbria (radiofrequency current) were made before training. After recovery from surgery, rats were trained to discriminate between simple and compound-configural cues that signaled the availability or nonavailability of food when a bar was pressed. When positive cues were present, one food pellet could be earned by pressing a lever after a variable time had elapsed. The trial terminated on food delivery (variable interval 15 s). This procedure eliminates some possible alternative explanations of the results of previous experiments on configural learning. Hippocampal lesions increased rates of responding and retarded acquisition of a negative patterning task (A+, B+, AB-); using a ratio measure of discrimination performance these lesions had a milder retarding effect on a biconditional discrimination (AX+, AY-, BY+, BX-), and they had no effect on a conditional context discrimination (X: A+, B-; Y: A-, B+). Fornix-fimbria lesions did not affect acquisition of any of these tasks but increased rates of responding. The results suggest that several task parameters determine the involvement of the hippocampus in configural learning; however, all tasks tested can also be learned to some extent in the absence of an intact hippocampal system, presumably by other learning/memory systems that remain intact following surgery. The lack of effect of fornix-fimbria lesions on any of these tasks suggests that retrohippocampal connections with other brain areas may mediate hippocampal contributions to the learning of some configural tasks. An analysis of these results and of experiments on spatial learning situations suggests that involvement of the hippocampus is a function of the degree to which correct performance depends on a knowledge of relationships among cues in a situation.[1]


  1. Systematic comparison of the effects of hippocampal and fornix-fimbria lesions on acquisition of three configural discriminations. McDonald, R.J., Murphy, R.A., Guarraci, F.A., Gortler, J.R., White, N.M., Baker, A.G. Hippocampus. (1997) [Pubmed]
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