Acetylcholine release in hippocampus and striatum during testing on a rewarded spontaneous alternation task

Jason C. Pych, Qing Chang, Cynthia Colon-Rivera, Paul E. Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


The present experiment tested male Sprague-Dawley rats for spontaneous alternation performance in a food-rewarded Y-shaped maze. Microdialysis samples, later assessed for acetylcholine concentration, were collected from the hippocampus and striatum of each rat prior to and during testing; testing sessions lasted 20 min. Early in testing, rats alternated at a rate of 72%. Alternation scores increased throughout the 20-min testing session and reached 93% during the last 5 min. The behavioral findings suggest that, during testing, rats changed the basis for their performance from a spatial working memory strategy to a persistent turning strategy. ACh release in both hippocampus and striatum increased at the onset of testing. Increases in ACh release in the striatum began at 18% above baseline during the first 5 min of testing and steadily increased reaching 58% above baseline during the final 5 min. The progressive rise of striatum ACh release during testing occurred at about the time rats adopted a persistent turning strategy. In contrast, ACh release in the hippocampus increased by 50% with the onset of testing and remained at this level until declining slightly during the last 5 min of testing. The relative changes in ACh release in the striatum and hippocampus resulted in a close negative relationship between the ratio of ACh release in the hippocampus/striatum and alternation scores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-101
Number of pages9
JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetylcholine
  • Caudate
  • Hippocampus
  • Memory systems
  • Place learning
  • Response learning
  • Spontaneous alternation
  • Striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Acetylcholine release in hippocampus and striatum during testing on a rewarded spontaneous alternation task'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this