Differential site-specific effects of parafascicular stimulation on active avoidance in rats

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To study the effects of parafascicular intracranial electrical stimulation (PF ICS) on two-way active avoidance acquisition (five training sessions of ten trials each, one session per day) and long-term retention (one session of ten trials), two experiments were carried out. Experiment I tested if posttraining PF ICS can differentially affect the conditioning, depending on the stimulated region of the nucleus. Results indicated that rats stimulated at the posterior region of the parafascicular nucleus (PF) showed a better acquisition than those stimulated at the central one. Experiment II evaluated the effects of the stimulation at the medial, lateral and posterior parts of the PF area on the same task. Results showed that medial and lateral PF ICS disrupted two-way active avoidance, and that posterior PF ICS enhanced the long-term retention of the conditioning. These results suggest a possible role of the PF in modulatory processes of learning and memory, confirming that this nucleus is functionally heterogeneous. Potential facilitative effects are discussed in terms of the relations of the PF to the arousal system and the subparafascicular thalamic nucleus. Disruptive effects are discussed based on the relations of the PF with the 'motor' and 'associative-limbic' basal ganglia circuits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-118
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 1998


  • Electrical stimulation
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Parafascicular nucleus
  • Two-way active avoidance


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