Clonidine reverses spatial learning deficits and reinstates θ frequencies in rats with partial fornix section

Martine Ammassari-Teule, Catherine Maho, Susan J. Sara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rats received knife-cuts to the dorsal fornix or sham-operations. Half of the animals from each group were injected with clonidine (0.01 mg/kg) and the others with saline before each daily trail of a 10-trial radial 8-arm maze task. The number of choices before the first repetition and the run time were used as performance indices. Lesioned rats were significantly impaired in the acquisition of this task. Clonidine-treated rats, lesioned or not, had an acquisition profile indistinguishable from that of sham-operated saline-injected rats, in spite of their increased run time. When tested one week after the last learning trial in a no-drug condition, lesioned rats treated with clonidine throughout learning maintained a high level of performance during the 5-day retraining phase. A parallel analysis of θ rhythms recorded in an independent group of rats placed in equivalent treatment and/or lesion conditions was then performed. Preoperatively, clonidine injections decreased θ frequency during both alert immobility and movement. Partial fornix lesions produced an increase in θ frequency. Finally, clonidine in fornix-damaged rats decreased θ frequency, thus reinstating the postoperative values at a level statistically no different from that recorded preoperatively. The role of clonidine in restoring the function of the septo-hippocampal input in partially fornix-damaged rats through a noradrenergic modulation of hippocampal acetylcholine release is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 25 1991


  • Clonidine
  • Fornix
  • Functional recovery
  • Spatial learning
  • θ Rhythm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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