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Re-evaluating the role of the mammillary bodies in memory

Vann, Seralynne Denise 2010. Re-evaluating the role of the mammillary bodies in memory. Neuropsychologia 48 (8) , pp. 2316-2327. 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.10.019

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Abstract

Although the mammillary bodies were among the first brain regions to be implicated in amnesia, the functional importance of this structure for memory has been questioned over the intervening years. Recent patient studies have, however, re-established the mammillary bodies, and their projections to the anterior thalamus via the mammillothalamic tract, as being crucial for recollective memory. Complementary animal research has also made substantial advances in recent years by determining the electrophysiological, neurochemical, anatomical and functional properties of the mammillary bodies. Mammillary body and mammillothalamic tract lesions in rats impair performance on a number of spatial memory tasks and these deficits are consistent with impoverished spatial encoding. The mammillary bodies have traditionally been considered a hippocampal relay which is consistent with the equivalent deficits seen following lesions of the mammillary bodies or their major efferents, the mammillothalamic tract. However, recent findings suggest that the mammillary bodies may have a role in memory that is independent of their hippocampal formation afferents; instead, the ventral tegmental nucleus of Gudden could be providing critical mammillary body inputs needed to support mnemonic processes. Finally, it is now apparent that the medial and lateral mammillary nuclei should be considered separately and initial research indicates that the medial mammillary nucleus is predominantly responsible for the spatial memory deficits following mammillary body lesions in rats.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: Diencephalon; Tegmental nucleus of Gudden; Hippocampus; Rat; Spatial memory
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0028-3932
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:02
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/31360

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