Anterior but not intralaminar thalamic nuclei support allocentric spatial memory

Mathieu Wolff, Sheree J. Gibb, Jean-Christophe Cassel, John C. Dalrymple-Alford
Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. 2008-07-01; 90(1): 71-80
DOI: 10.1016/j.nlm.2008.01.007

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1. Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2008 Jul;90(1):71-80. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2008.01.007. Epub
2008 Mar 4.

Anterior but not intralaminar thalamic nuclei support allocentric spatial memory.

Wolff M(1), Gibb SJ, Cassel JC, Dalrymple-Alford JC.

Author information:
(1)Van der Veer Institute for Parkinson’s and Brain Research, Department of
Psychology, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8020, New

Medial thalamic damage is a common cause of severe memory disruption in humans.
Both the anterior thalamic nuclei (ATN) and the intralaminar thalamic nuclei
(ILN) have been suggested as primary sites of diencephalic injury underlying
learning and memory deficits, but their respective roles have yet to be resolved.
The present study explicitly compared two spatial memory tasks in male PVGc
hooded rats with selective neurotoxic lesions to either (1) the ATN or (2) the
rostral ILN (and adjacent lateral mediodorsal thalamic nuclei; ILN/LT lesions).
As predicted, the ATN group, but not the ILN/LT group, exhibited clear deficits
in the Morris water maze task for the initial acquisition of a fixed hidden
platform and its reversal to a new position. The second task examined acquisition
of egocentric spatial reference memory for a left or right body turn, using any
three arms in an 8-arm water maze on any given trial; contrary to predictions,
both lesion groups performed as well as the Sham group. The lack of deficits in
ILN/LT rats on this second task contrasted with previous findings reporting a
detrimental effect of ILN/LT lesions on egocentric working memory. The clear
dissociation between the influence of ATN and ILN/LT lesions with respect to
allocentric spatial reference memory in the Morris maze emphasizes that caution
is required when interpreting the effects of non-ATN thalamic lesions on spatial
memory when the lesions encroach substantial areas of the adjacent ATN region.

DOI: 10.1016/j.nlm.2008.01.007
PMID: 18296080 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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