Conditional discriminations based on external and internal cues in rats with cytotoxic hippocampal lesions.
Deacon RM., Bannerman DM., Rawlins NP.
Septal-hippocampal system lesions, mostly using aspiration techniques, have been reported to impair performance of conditional tasks. Rats with axon-sparing cytotoxic hippocampal lesions were therefore tested in a range of instrumental conditional paradigms. They did not differ from controls in their ability to choose the appropriate object in a conditional object discrimination cued by internal state (hunger or thirst) or on performance of conditional visuospatial object discriminations. Acquisition of a conditional visuospatial discrimination with black and white boxes as stimuli was also unimpaired. In contrast, lesioned rats were profoundly impaired on an open T-maze task when cued by either their internal state (reference memory task) or their previous response (working memory task). The results indicate that perception or use of spatial cues, rather than conditional responding per se, is impaired by cytotoxic hippocampal lesions.