Previous studies have implicated the hippocampus in the acquisition of conditioned taste aversions. However, the effect of hippocampal (HPC) lesions on the acquisition of conditioned aversions to the distal olfactory cue has not been investigated. In this study rats with bilateral electrolytic hippocampal lesions were given access to an odor conditioned stimulus (CS) alone or a compound odor-taste CS, followed by an injection of LiCl or saline. The results indicated that HPC lesions attenuated the neophobic response to both CSs, and disrupted conditioned odor and taste aversions, relative to sham-operated controls. Furthermore, the disruption in conditioned odor aversions could not be attributed to attenuation of neophobia in lesioned subjects nor to prolonged neophobia in sham-operated controls. The results are consistent with pharmacological studies in suggesting that the hippocampus is involved in the formation of conditioned odor aversions.
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