Subcortical deafferentation impairs behavioral reinforcement of long-term potentiation in the dentate gyrus of freely moving rats

W. Almaguer-Melian, J. C. Rosillo, J. U. Frey, J. A. Bergado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Long-term potentiation is a form of neural functional plasticity which has been related with memory formation and recovery of function after brain injury. Previous studies have shown that a transient early-long-term potentiation can be prolonged by direct stimulation of distinct brain areas, or behavioral stimuli with a high motivational content. The basolateral amygdala and other subcortical structures, like the medial septum and the locus coeruleus, are involved in mediating the reinforcing effect. We have previously shown that the lesion of the fimbria-fornix - the main entrance of subcortical afferents to the hippocampus - abolishes the reinforcing basolateral amygdala-effects on long-term potentiation in the dentate gyrus in vivo. It remains to be investigated, however, if such subcortical afferents may also be important for behavioral reinforcement of long-term potentiation. Young-adult (8 weeks) Sprague-Dawley male rats were fimbria-fornix-transected under anesthesia, and electrodes were implanted at the dentate gyrus and the perforant path. One week after surgery the freely moving animals were studied. Fimbria-fornix-lesion reduced the ability of the animals to develop long-term potentiation when a short pulse duration was used for tetanization (0.1 ms per half-wave of a biphasic stimulus), whereas increasing the pulse duration to 0.2 ms per half-wave during tetanization resulted in a transient early-long-term potentiation lasting about 4 h in the lesioned animals, comparable to that obtained in non-lesioned or sham-operated control rats. In water-deprived (24 h) control animals, i.e. in non-lesioned and sham-operated rats, early-long-term potentiation could be behaviorally reinforced by drinking 15 min after tetanization. However, in fimbria-fornix-lesioned animals long-term potentiation-reinforcement by drinking was not detected. This result indicates that the effect of behavioral-motivational stimuli to reinforce long-term potentiation is mediated by subcortical, heterosynaptic afferents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1083-1088
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006


  • Basolateral amygdala
  • Behavioral reinforcement
  • Dentate gyrus
  • Fimbria-fornix
  • Rat
  • Synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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