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    The purpose of the present study was to examine hippocampal function for spatial learning in a land-based circular maze (i.e., the open-field tower maze [OFTM]). The OFTM, a task designed to be non-stressful, has been previously used to demonstrate the influence of gonadal hormones on spatial learning. Thus, determination of brain function for navigating in the OFTM provides an important extension to previous knowledge. Fornix lesions were used in the present experiment to disrupt hippocampal processing. After initial pre-training, rats received either an electrolytic fornix lesion surgery or a sham surgery. The rats from each surgical group were given either place- or response-training in the OFTM. The results showed that (1) lesioned place-learners required more trials than sham place-learners to solve the OFTM and (2) lesioned response-learners solved the OFTM at the same rate as sham response-learners. Our findings support the hypothesis that the hippocampus is necessary for place-, but not response-learning in the OFTM task. The OFTM is an appetitive task that does not depend on a choice between restricted directions that a rat would be required to make in a T-maze or a radial arm-maze, and does not include aversive components inherent to a Morris Water Maze or Barnes Maze. Thus, the OFTM can be used to investigate the manipulations of hippocampus-dependent spatial learning without confounding variables related to an animal's stress level. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Olga Lipatova, Matthew M Campolattaro, Joseph A Picone. Fornix lesions impair place-, but not response-learning in the open-field tower maze. Neurobiology of learning and memory. 2020 Jan;167:107134

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    PMID: 31790811

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