Novel odour recognition memory is independent of the hippocampus in rats.
We examined the effects of hippocampal (HPC) damage on odour recognition memory, using a novel odour recognition task that was adapted from the more common novel object recognition task. Three separate experiments were conducted. In Experiment 1, we tested rats in novel odour recognition across different retention intervals (i.e. 15 min, 24 h, 1 week, 5 weeks). Given a single acquisition session, rats' performance deteriorated after 24 h, but given multiple acquisition sessions (i.e. four sessions over 2 days), rats were able to perform well after retention intervals up to 5 weeks. In Experiment 2, we examined the possible anterograde amnesic effects of HPC damage on novel odour recognition, finding that pre-training damage to the entire HPC failed to cause amnesia for retention delays extending up to 5 weeks. In Experiment 3, we examined whether post-training HPC damage would cause retrograde amnesia, but failed to find any evidence of an impairment. The combined results suggest that the neural network supporting odour recognition is independent of the HPC.