Odour-place paired-associate learning and limbic thalamus: Comparison of anterior, lateral and medial thalamic lesions
Behavioural Brain Research. 2006-09-01; 172(1): 155-168
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1. Behav Brain Res. 2006 Sep 15;172(1):155-68.
Odour-place paired-associate learning and limbic thalamus: comparison of
anterior, lateral and medial thalamic lesions.
Gibb SJ(1), Wolff M, Dalrymple-Alford JC.
(1)Van der Veer Institute for Parkinson’s and Brain Research, Department of
Psychology, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8020, New
Several subregions in the limbic thalamus have been suggested as the key locus
for diencephalic amnesia, including the anterior thalamic nuclei, intralaminar
nuclei and mediodorsal nuclei. There is, however, no consensus as to a single
critical site and recent research has suggested instead that different thalamic
areas may contribute to diencephalic amnesia in subtly different ways. This study
compared the effects of lesions to anterior (AT), lateral (LT) and posteromedial
(MT) aggregates of thalamic nuclei on Gilbert and Kesner’s [Gilbert, PE, Kesner,
RP. Role of the rodent hippocampus in paired-associate learning involving
associations between a stimulus and a spatial location. Behav Neurosci
2002;116(1):63-71; Gilbert, PE, Kesner, RP. Localization of function within the
dorsal hippocampus: the role of the CA3 subregion in paired-associate learning.
Behav Neurosci 2003;117(6):1385-94] paired-associate task, in which rats were
postoperatively trained to form an arbitrary association between odours and
spatial locations in a circular open field. Both AT and LT lesions, but not MT
lesions, severely impaired odour-place paired-associate learning. Probe trials
revealed that the rats were not using specific location information after
acquisition training. All groups were able to learn non-associative odour and
place discrimination tasks quickly, with only the AT group showing delayed
acquisition. This study provides the first direct comparison of different
thalamic lesions on paired-associate learning and new evidence on the importance
of the LT region in learning and memory. The results support the notion that
injury to both the AT and LT subregions of the thalamus may each be major
contributors to diencephalic amnesia. There is need for traditional models of
memory function to take greater account of the contributions of thalamic nuclei.
PMID: 16769133 [Indexed for MEDLINE]