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Mammilliothalamic tract lesions disrupt tests of visuo-spatial memory

Nelson, Andrew J. D. and Vann, Seralynne D. 2014. Mammilliothalamic tract lesions disrupt tests of visuo-spatial memory. Behavioral Neuroscience 128 (4) , pp. 494-503. 10.1037/bne0000001

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The mammillary bodies and their projections via the mammilliothalamic tract to the anterior thalamic nuclei are known to be important for spatial memory in rodents, but their precise role remains unclear. To determine whether transection of the mammilliothalamic tract can produce deficits on tests of spatial memory even when the navigational demands placed on the animal are limited, rats with discrete mammilliothalamic tract lesions were tested on the ability to use distal visual cues to discriminate between 2 locations within a room, irrespective of the direction traveled (Experiment 1). Animals with mammilliothalamic tract lesions acquired this task more slowly and less accurately than control animals. Consistent with this impairment in discriminating different spatial locations, the same lesions also severely disrupted object-in-place memory but spared performance on standard tests of object recognition memory (Experiment 2). Finally, to compare performance on a task that is known to be sensitive to mammilliothalamic transection and requires animals to actively navigate within their environment, the effect of the lesions on spatial working memory in the radial-arm maze was examined. Taken together, the results suggest that even when there are little or no navigational demands, mammilliothalamic tract damage still results in impoverished encoding of spatial location.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Additional Information: This article has been published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.
Publisher: American Psychological Association
ISSN: 0735-7044
Funders: Wellcome Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 1 April 2014
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2020 09:30

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