Spatial learning in two inbred strains of mice: genotype-dependent effect of amygdaloid and hippocampal lesions

Clelia Rossi-Arnaud, Sandro Fagioli, Martine Ammassari-Teule

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spatial learning performance and maze-running strategies were estimated in two inbred strains of mice, C57BL/6 and DBA/2, submitted to an 8-arm radial maze task. Subsequently the genotype-dependent effect of hippocampus and amygdala on the mastering of this task was examined as a function of the different acquisition model provided by each strain. The results firstly show that unoperated C57BL/6 mice reach a higher level of performance and develop a stronger preference for adjacent arms -45° angle-turns than unoperated DBA/2 mice. In the high learner C57BL/6 strain, both hippocampal and amygdaloid lesions impair performance and modify maze-running strategies. With practice, however, the difference between amygdala-lesioned mice and controls disappears while that between hippocampus-lesioned mice and controls persists. Conversely, in the low learner DBA/2 strain, hippocampal lesions have a negative effect on a single parameter of performance, while amygdaloid lesions only affect maze-running strategies. Taken together, these results confirm the specific control exerted by the hippocampus on spatial learning. Moreover, they suggest that the amygdala can parallel the role of the hippocampus as far as the baseline level of performance of the strain considered is high.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 25 1991


  • Amygdala
  • Choice behaviour
  • Hippocampus
  • Inbred mouse
  • Lesion
  • Spatial learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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