Loss of the thalamic nuclei for "head direction" impairs performance on spatial memory tasks in rats

Behav Neurosci. 2001 Aug;115(4):861-9.


This study sought to characterize the effects of removing the nuclei of primary importance in relaying the thalamic head direction signal to the hippocampal formation (the anterior dorsal [AD] and lateral dorsal [LD] nuclei) on the performance of a variety of spatial and nonspatial tasks. The results indicate that combined excitotoxic lesions of the AD and LD nuclei produce marked deficits on a variety of spatial tasks. These tasks included T-maze alternation and the ability to locate a hidden platform set at a fixed distance and fixed direction from a beacon in a Morris water maze. Although object recognition appeared unaffected, marked impairments were found in the ability to detect when an object was placed in a novel position (object-in-place memory).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anterior Thalamic Nuclei / pathology
  • Anterior Thalamic Nuclei / physiology*
  • Head Movements
  • Lateral Thalamic Nuclei / pathology
  • Lateral Thalamic Nuclei / physiology*
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Recognition, Psychology
  • Spatial Behavior / physiology*