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Letters to Nature
Nature 297, 681 - 683 (24 June 1982); doi:10.1038/297681a0

Place navigation impaired in rats with hippocampal lesions

R. G. M. Morris*, P. Garrud*, J. N. P. Rawlins & J. O'Keefe

*Psychological Laboratory, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9JU, UK
Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2JD, UK
MRC Cerebral Mechanisms Unit, University College, University of London, London WC1E 6BT, UK

Electrophysiological studies have shown that single cells in the hippocampus respond during spatial learning and exploration1–4, some firing only when animals enter specific and restricted areas of a familiar environment. Deficits in spatial learning and memory are found after lesions of the hippocampus and its extrinsic fibre connections5,6 following damage to the medial septal nucleus which successfully disrupts the hippocampal theta rhythm7, and in senescent rats which also show a correlated reduction in synaptic enhancement on the perforant path input to the hippocampus8. We now report, using a novel behavioural procedure requiring search for a hidden goal, that, in addition to a spatial discrimination impairment, total hippocampal lesions also cause a profound and lasting placenavigational impairment that can be dissociated from correlated motor, motivational and reinforcement aspects of the procedure.

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