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Thesis (M.S.)

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Fornix, Rats


The fornix is the major afferent and efferent pathway of the hippocampus. However, it is not the only pathway. The hippocampus receives afferents from (11, IZ, Z9) and sends efferents to (10) the entorhinal cortex. Thus the hippocampus has two anatomically distinct afferent and efferent systems. There is accumulating evidence that these two anatomical systems subserve different functions. Animals sustaining lesions in the entorhinal cortex are deficient in the acquisition of a passive avoidance response (5, 36) while fornix lesioned animals are not deficient (3, 6, 35, 36). Animals with lesions of the fornix acquire a two-way active avoidance response faster than control animals (19, 35, 36) while animals with entorhinal lesions do not differ from control animals (36). Finally, animals are deficient at the acquisition of one-way active avoidance following fornix lesions (3, 19) but not following entorhinal lesions (34). Thus these two systems appear to be not only anatomically distinct but also functionally distinct.