Electrical stimulation of the substantia nigra, pars compacta, of albino rats while they were learning a simple foot shock task of withdrawal and response suppression disrupted retention of that task 24 hours after original learning. Stimulation in the reticular zone of the substantia nigra was without effect on retention performance. Stimulation through electrodes in the medial lemniscus, red nucleus, or brainstein regions surrounding the substantia nigra, pars compacta, was also ineffective. Original learning performance, measured as time to criterion, was unimpaired by the stimulation. Posttrial stimulation in the substantia nigra, pars compacta, but not in adjacent structures, also disrupted retention performance.
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