Memory and socioemotional behavior in monkeys after hippocampal damage incurred in infancy or in adulthood

Biol Psychiatry. 1999 Aug 1;46(3):329-39. doi: 10.1016/s0006-3223(99)00123-7.


The present study reviews the long-term effects of neonatal hippocampal damage in monkeys on the development of memory functions and socioemotional behavior. The results showed that neonatal damage to the hippocampal formation impairs specific memory processes, such as those subserving automatic (as opposed to effortful) recognition memory and relational learning, while sparing the abilities to acquire skills, such as object discriminations. Furthermore, the neonatal hippocampectomy led to a progressive loss of social affiliation and a protracted emergence of locomotor stereotypies. While the memory losses following neonatal hippocampal lesions resemble those found after similar lesions acquired in adulthood, only the neonatal lesions resulted in a protracted emergence of abnormal behaviors. These later findings suggested that, presumably, the neonatal lesions impacted on neural systems remote from the site of damage. This was confirmed by our more recent neurobiological studies, demonstrating that neonatal, but not late, lesions of the medial temporal lobe region, disrupt the normal behavioral and cognitive processes subserved by the prefrontal cortex and the caudate nucleus. All together the data support the neurodevelopmental hypothesis viewing early insult to the medial temporal region as the origin of developmental psychosis in humans, such as schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Caudate Nucleus / injuries
  • Choice Behavior / physiology
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology
  • Emotions*
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Hippocampus / injuries*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / injuries
  • Schizophrenia / etiology
  • Social Behavior*
  • Stereotypic Movement Disorder / etiology
  • Synapses / physiology