The dorsal hippocampus is crucial for learning the hidden-platform location in the hippocampus-dependent, spatial watermaze task. We have previously demonstrated that the postburst afterhyperpolarization (AHP) of hippocampal pyramidal neurons is reduced after acquisition of the hippocampus-dependent, temporal trace eyeblink conditioning task. We report here that the AHP and one or more of its associated currents (IAHP and/or sIAHP) are reduced in dorsal hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons from rats that learned the watermaze task as compared with neurons from control rats. This reduction was a learning-induced phenomenon as the AHP of CA1 neurons from rats that failed to learn the hidden-platform location was similar to that of neurons from control rats. We propose that reduction of the AHP in pyramidal neurons in regions crucial for learning is a cellular mechanism of learning that is conserved across species and tasks.
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