Using a radial maze task and different postoperative recovery periods, this experiment assessed and compared the reference and working memory performances of adult Long-Evans male rats subjected to entorhinal cortex, fimbria-fornix, and hippocampus lesions. Sham-operated rats were used as controls. In order to see whether the duration of the postsurgical recovery period would influence acquisition of the complex radial maze task, training began 1 month following surgery (Delay 1) for half the rats in each group, while for the other half training was started 6.5 months following surgery (Delay 2). The results indicated that at both recovery periods the entorhinal cortex lesions failed to affect either working or reference memory in the spatial task. Conversely, both fimbria-fornix and hippocampus lesions impaired both reference and working memory. While the reference memory deficit was generally similar in both fimbria-fornix and hippocampal lesion groups, analysis of the results for working memory indicated that at the longer delay rats with fimbria-fornix lesions were still impaired but in animals that had the hippocampus removed, working memory did not differ from that of controls. These results suggest that there was some recovery in those rats with hippocampal lesions (e.g., on the working memory task) but both hippocampal and fimbria-fornix animals were still impaired compared to controls when training was delayed 6.5 months following the operations.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science.