These experiments tested the effectiveness of parenterally administered gangliosides and amphetamine as treatments for spatial learning deficits caused by bilateral lesions of the neostriatum. In Expt. 1, rats were tested postsurgically for 30 days on a shock-avoidance, spatial reversal task. Treatments of gangliosides (GM1 at 30 mg/kg, and AGF2 at 20 mg/kg and 30 mg/kg) and d-amphetamine (2 mg/kg) significantly decreased lesion-induced learning deficits on this task, while treatments of 10 mg/kg AGF2 and the combination of GM1 (30 mg/kg) and d-amphetamine (2 mg/kg) were ineffective. In Expt. 2, rats were given bilateral neostriatal lesions and treated with GM1 (30 mg/kg), AGF2 (20 mg/kg) or d-amphetamine (2 mg/kg) and tested postsurgically for 5 days on a place learning task in the Morris water maze. Only the GM1-treated rats showed a reduction in lesion-induced place learning deficits on this task. Since in both experiments, cell counts near the area of the lesion revealed no differences among any of the brain-damaged groups, it was suggested that the treatments exert their behavioral effects by biochemically activating spared neurons, independent of any ultimate effects they may have on neuronal survival.
- Morris water maze
- Spatial learning