Role of the hippocampus in goal-oriented tasks requiring retrieval of spatial versus non-spatial information

Liat Levita, Isabel A Muzzio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The role of the hippocampus in non-spatial memory has been issue of some controversy. To investigate the nature of dorsal hippocampus engagement in spatial and non-spatial memory we performed discrete excitotoxic lesions of this region before mice (C57/BL6) were trained in one of two tasks that required the animals to retrieve a hidden food reward. In the visuospatial task animals had to remember a particular spatial location, independent of odor cues. In contrast, in a non-spatial olfactory task animals had to remember a particular odor, independent of spatial location. The mice were trained in one of these tasks over a period of three days. We found that lesions restricted to the dorsal hippocampus affected performance only in the spatial task. In contrast, lesions that also encompassed a larger portion of the ventral hippocampus caused a moderate deficit in the olfactory task. These results are consistent with the role of the dorsal hippocampus in long-term spatial episodic memory, and support the involvement of larger portions of the hippocampus on the encoding of non-spatial olfactory representations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-588
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of learning and memory
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


  • Animals
  • Cues
  • Executive Function
  • Goals
  • Hippocampus
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • N-Methylaspartate
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Neurotoxins
  • Olfactory Perception
  • Reward
  • Space Perception
  • Visual Perception

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