Intraseptal administration of muscimol produces dose-dependent memory impairments in the rat

Behav Neural Biol. 1989 Nov;52(3):357-69. doi: 10.1016/s0163-1047(89)90472-x.


The present study examined the effects of intraseptal administration of the GABAergic agonist muscimol on performance of a radial-arm maze (RAM) task. Male Long-Evans rats were trained to perform a RAM task in which a 1-h delay was imposed between the sample and the test session. In this task rats have access to four out of eight maze arms during a predelay session. Following a 1-h delay, rats are returned to the maze and allowed to freely choose among all eight arms. Arms not blocked during the predelay session are baited, and entry into an arm chosen during the predelay session or a repeated entry into a postdelay chosen arm constitutes an error. Following acquisition, animals were implanted with a single cannula aimed at the medial septum. A within-subjects design was utilized to examine the effects of intraseptal administration of muscimol (0.0, 0.75, 1.5 or 3.0 nmol) on performance in this task. All drugs or artificial cerebrospinal fluid were administered immediately following the predelay session. Muscimol, a GABA-A agonist, produced a dose-dependent impairment in maze performance as evidenced by fewer correct choices in the first four postdelay choices and an increase in the number of errors. Intraseptal administration of muscimol did not significantly alter latency per choice on the RAM task nor did it affect locomotor activity levels. Muscimol-induced impairments were also observed when a 4-h delay was imposed between the fourth and the fifth maze selection, suggesting that the behavioral deficit represents an inability to store or retain spatial working memories rather than a general performance deficit. These data indicated that pharmacological manipulation of GABA-A receptors within the medial septum modifies working memory processes. The potential interaction of GABAergic and cholinergic mechanisms in the modulation of working memory processes is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Discrimination Learning / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Mental Recall / drug effects*
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Muscimol / pharmacology*
  • Neural Pathways / drug effects
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Orientation / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, GABA-A / drug effects
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / drug effects
  • Retention, Psychology / drug effects
  • Septum Pellucidum / drug effects*


  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Receptors, Muscarinic
  • Muscimol