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Testing the importance of the retrosplenial guidance system: effects of different sized retrosplenial cortex lesions on heading direction and spatial working memory

Vann, Seralynne Denise and Aggleton, John Patrick 2004. Testing the importance of the retrosplenial guidance system: effects of different sized retrosplenial cortex lesions on heading direction and spatial working memory. Behavioural Brain Research 155 (1) , pp. 97-108. 10.1016/j.bbr.2004.04.005

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Abstract

The present study: (1) tested the importance of the retrosplenial cortex for learning a specific heading direction and distance and, (2) determined if lesion size could explain apparent inconsistencies in the results of different research groups. Dark agouti rats received either ‘complete’ cytotoxic retrosplenial cortex lesions or ‘standard’ lesions, the latter sparing the caudal retrosplenial cortex. Animals were first tested on two versions of a “landmark” task in a water maze. In condition 1 animals could use both heading direction and allocentric position, while in condition 2 only heading direction was effective. In condition 1, animals with complete retrosplenial lesions were impaired by the end of training, their profile of performance being consistent with a failure to use allocentric position information. When the water maze task changed (condition 2) so that allocentric cues became redundant, the animals with complete retrosplenial lesions were able to head in the appropriate direction although they showed longer swim paths. Subsequent testing in the radial-arm maze provided more evidence that retrosplenial lesions can disrupt the use of distal (allocentric) room cues. The impairments seen with retrosplenial lesions were often mild but throughout the study performance of rats with ‘complete’ lesions was more disrupted than those with ‘standard’ lesions, who often did not differ from the controls. These findings show that lesion size is a critical factor and may explain why some studies have failed to find comparable deficits after retrosplenial cortex lesions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Medicine
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: Heading direction; Radial-arm maze; Rats; Retrosplenial cortex; Spatial memory; Water maze
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0166-4328
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 02:42
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/11381

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