Previous experiments from our laboratory showed that retention of two-way active avoidance learning is improved by post-training intracranial electrical stimulation (ICS) of the parafascicular nucleus (PF) and impaired by pre-training electrolytic lesions of the nucleus basalis magnocellularis (NBM). The question investigated here was whether post-training PF ICS is able to attenuate the active avoidance retention deficit observed in rats lesioned pre-training in the NBM. To this goal, the following experimental design was used: rats bilaterally lesioned in the NBM and stimulated in the PF, rats lesioned in the NBM, rats stimulated in the PF, control rats implanted in the PF, and sham-operated rats were first trained in a shuttle-box for a single 30-trial session and tested again following two successive retention intervals (24h and 11 days). The results showed that: (1) NBM lesions impaired the 11-day performance without affecting either the acquisition or the 24-h retention of the avoidance learning; (2) PF ICS treatment in unlesioned rats improved performance in both retention sessions only when the stimulation was applied in the posterior region of the nucleus; and (3) stimulation of the posterior PF compensated the 11-day retention impairment induced by NBM lesions. These results are discussed in relation to the interaction of arousal systems in the modulation of cognitive processes. © 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
- Arousal systems
- Basal forebrain
- Intralaminar nuclei of the thalamus
- Two-way active avoidance learning and retention