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Keywords:

  • NMTS;
  • context fear-conditioning;
  • learning and memory;
  • adult neurogenesis;
  • dentate gyrus

Abstract

Rats treated with low dose irradiation, to inhibit adult hippocampal neurogenesis, and control rats were administered a nonmatching-to-sample (NMTS) task, which measured conditional rule learning and memory for specific events, and a test of fear conditioning in which a discrete CS was paired with an aversive US in a complex environment. Irradiated rats were impaired on the NMTS task when the intervals between sample and test trials were relatively long, and in associating the shock-induced fear with contextual cues in the fear conditioning task. Irradiated rats were not impaired in learning the basic NMTS rule or in performing that task when the intervals between the sample and test trials were short. Nor were there group differences in conditioning the fear response to the CS in the fear conditioning task. The results, which extend the range of hippocampus-dependent tasks that can be said to be vulnerable to the effects of neurogenesis suppression, support the hypothesis that new hippocampal cells generated in adulthood participate in a broad range of hippocampal functions. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.