The role of the dorsal striatum and dorsal hippocampus in probabilistic and deterministic odor discrimination tasks

Learn Mem. 2008 Apr 25;15(5):294-8. doi: 10.1101/lm.754208. Print 2008 May.


Three experiments explored the contribution of the cortico-striatal system and the hippocampus system to the acquisition of solutions to simultaneous instrumental odor discriminations. Inactivation of the dorsal striatum after rats had reached criterion on a three problem probabilistic set of discriminations--A (80%) vs. B (20%), C (67%) vs. D (33%), E(67%) vs. F(33%)--impaired test performance and disrupted performance when the rats were tested with novel cue combinations (C vs. F and E vs. D), where control animals chose C and F. In contrast, inactivating the dorsal hippocampus enhanced performance on this task and on a deterministic discrimination A (100%) vs. B (0%). These results are consistent with the complementary learning systems view, which assumes that the cortico-striatal and hippocampal system capture information in parallel. How this information combines to influence task performance depends on the compatibility of the content captured by each system. These results suggest that the trial-specific information captured by the hippocampal system can be incompatible with the across-trial integration of trial outcomes captured by the cortico-striatal system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects*
  • Discrimination, Psychological / drug effects*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • GABA Agonists / administration & dosage
  • GABA Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Genetic Determinism*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects*
  • Hippocampus / surgery
  • Male
  • Muscimol / administration & dosage
  • Muscimol / pharmacology*
  • Odorants*
  • Probability
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Receptors, GABA-A / drug effects


  • GABA Agonists
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Muscimol