Roland JJ, Janke KL, Gluck MA, Beck KD, Pang KCH, Servatius RJ (2009) Selective cholinergic and GABAergic lesions of the medial septum slows acquisition of the classically conditioned eyeblink response in rats. Neuroscience 2009 Abstracts 283.6/EE135. Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, IL.
Summary: Both human and animal studies have demonstrated that the hippocampus is not essential for the acquisition of delay eyeblink conditioning. However, nonselective medial septal damage, in both rabbits and humans, impaired acquisition of delayed eyeblink conditioning, as well as latent inhibition of eyeblink conditioning. The medial septum provides a major cholinergic and GABAergic afferent projection to the hippocampus, and the effects of medial septal damage is widely believed to occur through its connections to the hippocampus. Cholinergic muscarinic antagonists impaired delay eyeblink conditioning when administered systemically or directly into the hippocampus. Computational models also predicted the lack of effects on delay conditioning or latent inhibition of eyeblink conditioning caused by interference of the cholinergic septohippocampal system Recent studies have suggested that the GABAergic septohippocampal system may be a major site of action for scopolamine. Therefore, the current study examined the effect of selective cholinergic or GABAergic medial septal lesions on the classically conditioned eyeblink response. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats received either a sham, cholinergic (192-IgG saporin) or GABAergic (GAT1-saporin) lesion in the MS/DB. Two weeks later, all animals were implanted with stimulating and recording electrodes in the periorbital muscle. Following recovery, all animals received three consecutive days of delay eyeblink conditioning. Each daily session consisted of 100 paired CS-US (conditional stimulus – unconditioned stimulus) trials with an average intertrial interval (ITI) of 30 seconds. The CS was a 500ms tone which co-terminated with the US, a 10ms, 10V periorbital stimulation. Our preliminary results shows that both cholinergic and GABAergic lesions impaired acquisition of delayed eyeblink conditioning, as compared to the sham-lesioned group. However, after three days of training all three treatment groups reached the same asymptotic performance. Future studies will assess the effects of combined cholinergic and GABAergic lesions and the effects of these septal lesions on latent inhibition of the conditioned eyeblink response.