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Why do lesions in the rodent anterior thalamic nuclei cause such severe spatial deficits?

Aggleton, John Patrick ORCID: and Nelson, Andrew John Dudley ORCID: 2015. Why do lesions in the rodent anterior thalamic nuclei cause such severe spatial deficits? Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 54 , pp. 131-144. 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.08.013

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Lesions of the rodent anterior thalamic nuclei cause severe deficits to multiple spatial learning tasks. Possible explanations for these effects are examined, with particular reference to T-maze alternation. Anterior thalamic lesions not only impair allocentric place learning but also disrupt other spatial processes, including direction learning, path integration, and relative length discriminations, as well as aspects of nonspatial learning, e.g., temporal discriminations. Working memory tasks, such as T-maze alternation, appear particularly sensitive as they combine an array of these spatial and nonspatial demands. This sensitivity partly reflects the different functions supported by individual anterior thalamic nuclei, though it is argued that anterior thalamic lesion effects also arise from covert pathology in sites distal to the thalamus, most critically in the retrosplenial cortex and hippocampus. This two-level account, involving both local and distal lesion effects, explains the range and severity of the spatial deficits following anterior thalamic lesions. These findings highlight how the anterior thalamic nuclei form a key component in a series of interdependent systems that support multiple spatial functions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: Alternation; Amnesia; Direction; Fornix; Learning; Mammillary bodies; Memory; Navigation; Space; Thalamus
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0149-7634
Funders: Wellcome Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 27 August 2014
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2023 03:38

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