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.
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