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Emotional and spatial learning in goldfish is dependent on different telencephalic pallial systems

Authors


  • *

    Present address (to September 2005): Center for Neuropharmacology & Neuroscience, Albany Medical College (MC-136), 47 New Scotland Avenue, Albany, NY 12208, USA.

Dr Manuel Portavella, at *present address below.
E-mail: portavm@mail.amc.edu; portavel@us.es

Abstract

In mammals, the amygdala and the hippocampus are involved in different aspects of learning. Whereas the amygdala complex is involved in emotional learning, the hippocampus plays a critical role in spatial and contextual learning. In fish, it has been suggested that the medial and lateral region of the telencephalic pallia might be the homologous neural structure to the mammalian amygdala and hippocampus, respectively. Although there is evidence of the implication of medial and lateral pallium in several learning processes, it remains unclear whether both pallial areas are involved distinctively in different learning processes. To address this issue, we examined the effect of selective ablation of the medial and lateral pallium on both two-way avoidance and reversal spatial learning in goldfish. The results showed that medial pallium lesions selectively impaired the two-way avoidance task. In contrast, lateral pallium ablations impaired the spatial task without affecting the avoidance performance. These results indicate that the medial and lateral pallia in fish are functionally different and necessary for emotional and spatial learning, respectively. Present data could support the hypothesis that a sketch of these regions of the limbic system, and their associated functions, were present in the common ancestor of fish and terrestrial vertebrates 400 million years ago.

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