The GABAergic septohippocampal pathway is directly involved in internal processes related to operant reward learning

Cereb Cortex. 2014 Aug;24(8):2093-107. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht060. Epub 2013 Mar 10.


We studied the role of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic septohippocampal projections in medial septum (MS) self-stimulation of behaving mice. Self-stimulation was evoked in wild-type (WT) mice using instrumental conditioning procedures and in J20 mutant mice, a type of mouse with a significant deficit in GABAergic septohippocampal projections. J20 mice showed a significant modification in hippocampal activities, including a different response for input/output curves and the paired-pulse test, a larger long-term potentiation (LTP), and a delayed acquisition and lower performance in the MS self-stimulation task. LTP evoked at the CA3-CA1 synapse further decreased self-stimulation performance in J20, but not in WT, mice. MS self-stimulation evoked a decrease in the amplitude of field excitatory postsynaptic potentials (fEPSPs) at the CA3-CA1 synapse in WT, but not in J20, mice. This self-stimulation-dependent decrease in the amplitude of fEPSPs was also observed in the presence of another positive reinforcer (food collected during an operant task) and was canceled by the local administration of an antibody-inhibiting glutamate decarboxylase 65 (GAD65). LTP evoked in the GAD65Ab-treated group was also larger than in controls. The hippocampus has a different susceptibility to septal GABAergic inputs depending on ongoing cognitive processes, and the GABAergic septohippocampal pathway is involved in consummatory processes related to operant rewards.

Keywords: GABA; glutamate decarboxylase; hippocampus; mice; self-stimulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / genetics
  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology*
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • GABAergic Neurons / physiology*
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Reward
  • Self Stimulation / physiology
  • Septal Nuclei / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • APP protein, human
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase
  • glutamate decarboxylase 2