Lesions of specific and nonspecific thalamic nuclei affect prefrontal cortex-dependent aspects of spatial working memory

Behav Neurosci. 2005 Apr;119(2):410-9. doi: 10.1037/0735-7044.119.2.410.


Three studies compared lesions of specific mediodorsal (MD) and nonspecific midline/intralaminar (M/IL) and ventromedial (VM) thalamic nuclei placed to spare the anterior nuclei. Lesions of MD, M/IL, or VM impaired delayed matching trained with retractable levers, a measure of spatial memory affected by prefrontal cortical lesions. The effects of the MD lesion increased at longer retention intervals and thus appeared delay dependent. The effects of M/IL and VM lesions were delay independent. Even when combined, these lesions had no effect on varying choice radial maze delayed nonmatching, a task sensitive to hippocampal or anterior thalamic (but not prefrontal) lesions. These results demonstrate effects of MD, M/IL, and VM lesions distinct from the contributions of hippocampus or anterior thalamus to spatial memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Space Perception*
  • Thalamic Nuclei / pathology*
  • Thalamic Nuclei / physiology*