• fornix, hippocampus, spatial conditional learning


Rats with lesions of the fornix, the hippocampus, or normal control animals were trained on a visual-spatial conditional associative learning task in which they had to learn to go to a particular location based on the presence of a specific visual cue; the rats approached the cues from different directions. Animals with damage of the fornix were able to learn the task at a rate comparable to that of the control animals. The performance of the hippocampal rats was significantly impaired as compared with the control group. Both the fornix and the hippocampal animals were significantly impaired on a spatial working memory task, the eight-arm radial maze. These findings suggest that, under certain conditions, a functional dissociation exists between the effects of damage to the fornix or the hippocampus and that the fornix may be only selectively involved in spatial learning and memory. Hippocampus 2002;12:543–550. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.