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Environmental cue saliency influences the vividness of a remote spatial memory in rats

, : Environmental cue saliency influences the vividness of a remote spatial memory in rats. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 90(1): 285-289

The Morris water maze is frequently used to evaluate the acquisition and retrieval of spatial memories. Few experiments, however, have investigated the effects of environmental cue saliency on the strength or persistence of such memories after a short vs. long post-acquisition interval. Using a Morris water maze, we therefore tested in rats the effect of the saliency of distal cues on the vividness of a recent (5 days) vs. remote (25 days) memory. Rats trained in a cue-enriched vs. a cue-impoverished context showed a better overall level of performance during acquisition. Furthermore, the probe trials revealed that the rats trained and tested in the cue-impoverished context (1) spent less time in the target quadrant at the 25-day delay, and (2) swam shorter distances in the target area, with fewer crossings at both 5- and 25-day delays, as compared to their counterparts trained and tested in the cue-enriched context. Thus, the memory trace formed in the cue-enriched context shows better resistance to time, suggesting an implication of cue saliency in the vividness of a spatial memory.


PMID: 18353694

DOI: 10.1016/j.nlm.2008.02.003

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