Spatial memory dissociations in mice lacking GluR1


Gene-targeted mice lacking the AMPA receptor subunit GluR1 (GluR-A) have deficits in hippocampal CA3–CA1 long-term potentiation. We now report that they showed normal spatial reference learning and memory, both on the hidden platform watermaze task and on an appetitively motivated Y-maze task. In contrast, they showed a specific spatial working memory impairment during tests of non-matching to place on both the Y-maze and an elevated T-maze. In addition, successful watermaze and Y-maze reference memory performance depended on hippocampal function in both wild-type and mutant mice; bilateral hippocampal lesions profoundly impaired performance on both tasks, to a similar extent in both groups. These results suggest that different forms of hippocampus-dependent spatial memory involve different aspects of neural processing within the hippocampus.

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Figure 1: GluR1−/− mice are impaired on a spatial working memory task but not a non-spatial reference memory task on the T-maze.
Figure 2: GluR1−/− mice show normal spatial reference memory on the elevated Y-maze.
Figure 3: GluR1−/− mice acquire a standard spatial reference memory version of the Morris watermaze task.
Figure 4: GluR1−/− and wild-type mice with bilateral cytotoxic hippocampal lesions are impaired during re-acquisition of the standard spatial reference memory version of the Morris watermaze task.
Figure 5: GluR1−/− and wild-type mice with bilateral cytotoxic hippocampal lesions are impaired during re-acquisition of the standard spatial reference memory version of the elevated Y-maze task.


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This work was supported by a European Union (E.U.) Framework V grant (QLG 3-CT-1999-01022). The authors would like to thank G. Daubney for assistance with the histology.

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Correspondence to D. M. Bannerman.

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Reisel, D., Bannerman, D., Schmitt, W. et al. Spatial memory dissociations in mice lacking GluR1. Nat Neurosci 5, 868–873 (2002) doi:10.1038/nn910

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