Contributions of the hippocampus and related ventromedial temporal cortices to memory in the rhesus monkey
Beason-Held, Lori L.
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While memory function in primates depends on the integrity of the medial temporal lobe, the contribution of the hippocampal formation (HF) independent of the overlying ventromedial temporal cortices, particularly the entorhinal (ENT) and parahippocampal (PHG) cortices, remains unclear. To address this issue we have prepared groups of rhesus monkeys with ibotenic acid lesions of the HF or aspiration lesions of the ENT or PHG cortices. We then administered behavioral tasks to assess the effects of these lesions relative to normal controls. To test recognition memory, the Delayed Non-Matching to Sample (DNMS) task and the Delayed Recognition Span Task (DRST) were administered. On DNMS, all groups were impaired on both acquisition and 2 and 10 minute delays. The DRST, administered in Spatial, Color and Object conditions, yielded slightly different results. On the Spatial condition, all groups were impaired on both unique and repeated trials of the task. On the Color condition, all groups were impaired on unique trials while only the HF group was impaired on repeated trials. On the Object condition, ENT and PHG groups were only impaired on unique trials, while the HF group was unimpaired. To assess associative memory, two choice reversals were administered in Spatial (SR) and Object (OR) modalities. On the SR task, The HF group was impaired on acquisition and the first of three reversal phases. The ENT group was impaired on all three reversals, and the PHG group was impaired on only the last. On the OR task, HF animals were impaired on all reversals, while ENT animals were impaired on the initial reversal and PHG animals on the last two. These results indicate that damage to the HF alone causes impairments in recognition, spatial processing and object reversal learning. They also indicate that ENT and PHG regions make unique contributions to memory processes as seen in additional impairments on DRST and the inability to perform spatial reversals. Thus impairments previously attributed to hippocampal damage in studies where the ENT and PHG cortices were removed in conjunction with the HF need to be reevaluated in view of additional contributions provided by these cortical regions.
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