Hippocampal lesions impair contextual fear conditioning in two strains of mice

Behav Neurosci. 1996 Oct;110(5):1177-80. doi: 10.1037//0735-7044.110.5.1177.


Two different strains of mice, C57BL/6J and BALB/c, with hippocampal, cortical, or sham lesions, underwent contextual fear conditioning. In both strains, contextual fear, as measured by the freezing response, was significantly impaired in hippocampus-lesioned animals compared with sham control animals. Fear conditioning was not affected in the cortical-lesioned group. Moreover, there was a strain difference in fear conditioning: The C57BL/6J mice exhibited freezing more frequently than the BALB/c mice. Consistent with previous hippocampal lesion studies in rats, these results indicate that contextual fear conditioning in mice also requires the intact hippocampus. This study provides a basis for evaluating hippocampal synaptic mechanisms in relation to contextual fear conditioning in widely available gene knockout or transgenic mice.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Association Learning / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology*
  • Fear / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Social Environment*
  • Species Specificity
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology