Hippocampal morphology and spatially related behavior in long‐evans and CFY rats

Herbert Schwegler, Gary G. Mueller, Wim E. Crusio, Laszlo Szemes, Laszlo Seress

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Behavioral responses to novelty in an open field and spatial learning in a radial maze with four arms out of eight reinforced were tested in male and female CFY and Long‐Evans rats. Subsequently, the sizes of the total hippocampi and of various hippocampal cell layers and terminal fields at the midseptotemporal level were measured in Timm‐stained sections. No strain differences were found in the open field (except for defecation). In the radial maze, Long‐Evans rats showed better spatial reference memory capabilities than rats of the CFY strain. The relative sizes of the intra‐ and infrapyramidal mossy fiber (IIP‐MF) projections did not differ between the strains. Within the more variable CFY strain, a positive correlation between the size of the IIPMF projection and radial maze performance was found. The absolute sizes of the entire hippocampi and all hippocampal layers at the midseptotemporal level were larger in the CFY strain. The size of the suprapyramidal mossy fiber projection was related to the number of granule cells and to the ratio between granule and CA3 pyramidal cells. In contrast, the size of the IIP‐MF projection did not correlate with either of these variables. The results indicate that the size of the mossy fiber projection may be determined mainly by the available postsynaptic surface on the dendrites of CA3 pyramidal neurons. Furthermore, an increased number of granule cells and their larger projection to the apical dendrites of pyramidal neurons does not appear to result in physiological changes with behavioral consequences. The results also indicate that hippocampal size or the numbers of hippocampal neurons as shown in particular bird and rodent populations is not an indicator of spatial learning capacity in commonly used laboratory rodent strains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1993


  • dentate granule cells
  • exploratory behavior
  • hippocampus
  • intra‐and infrapyramidal mossy fibers
  • rat
  • spatial learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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