Muscarinic receptor blockade in ventral hippocampus and prelimbic cortex impairs memory for socially transmitted food preference

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Acetylcholine is involved in learning and memory and, particularly, in olfactory tasks, but reports on its specific role in consolidation processes are somewhat controversial. The present experiment sought to determine the effects of blocking muscarinic cholinergic receptors in the ventral hippocampus (vHPC) and the prelimbic cortex (PLC) on the consolidation of social transmission of food preference, an odor-guided relational task that depends on such brain areas. Adult male Wistar rats were bilaterally infused with scopolamine (20 lg/site) immediately after social training and showed impairment, relative to vehicle- injected controls, in the expression of the task measured 24 h after learning. Results indicated that scopolamine in the PLC completely abolished memory, suggesting that muscarinic transmission in this cortical region is crucial for consolidation of recent socially acquired information. Muscarinic receptors in the vHPC contribute in some way to task consolidation, as the rats injected with scopolamine in the vHPC showed significantly lower trained food preference than control rats, but higher than both chance level and that of the PLC-injected rats. Behavioral measures such as social interaction, motivation to eat, neophobia, or exploration did not differ between rats infused with scopolamine or vehicle. Such data suggest a possible differential role of muscarinic receptors in the PLC and the vHPC in the initial consolidation of a naturalistic form of nonspatial relational memory. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-455
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • Acetylcholine
  • Hippocampal formation
  • Medial prefrontal cortex
  • Relational memory consolidation
  • Retrograde amnesia


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