Retrograde and anterograde amnesic effects of excitotoxic lesions of the rat retrosplenial cortex (RS) and hippocampus (HPC) were investigated. To test retrograde amnesia, rats were trained with two-arm place discrimination in a radial maze 4 wk and 1 d before surgery with a different arm pair, respectively. In the retention test 1 wk after surgery, both lesion groups showed temporally ungraded retrograde amnesia. To test anterograde amnesia, animals were trained after surgery to discriminate three arm pairs successively within a day, and then after interposition of 1- to 4-wk intervals, one of these pairs, respectively, was tested for retention. RS-lesioned rats could acquire these pairs of place discriminations rapidly but showed a retention interval-dependent impairment in the retention test. Conversely, HPC-lesioned rats took more sessions to acquire these pairs than did the control group, and their retention was ∼70% of correct performance regardless of retention interval. Results suggest that RS and HPC have different roles in spatial memory and that RS is important for remote memory process.
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