Dissociating context and space within the hippocampus: effects of complete, dorsal, and ventral excitotoxic hippocampal lesions on conditioned freezing and spatial learning.
Richmond MA., Yee BK., Pouzet B., Veenman L., Rawlins JN., Feldon J., Bannerman DM.
Rats with complete excitotoxic hippocampal lesions or selective damage to the dorsal or ventral hippocampus were compared with controls on measures of contextually conditioned freezing in a signaled shock procedure and on a spatial water-maze task. Complete and ventral lesions produced equivalent, significant anterograde deficits in conditioned freezing relative to both dorsal lesions and controls. Complete hippocampal lesions impaired water-maze performance; in contrast, ventral lesions improved performance relative to the dorsal group, which was itself unexpectedly unimpaired relative to controls. Thus, the partial lesion effects seen in the 2 tasks never resembled each other. Anterograde impairments in contextual freezing and spatial learning do not share a common underlying neural basis; complete and ventral lesions may induce anterograde contextual freezing impairments by enhancing locomotor activity under conditions of mild stress.