Dissociable roles of the ventral, medial and lateral striatum on the acquisition and performance of a complex visual stimulus-response habit

Behav Brain Res. 1991 Nov 26;45(2):147-61. doi: 10.1016/s0166-4328(05)80080-4.


The effects of discrete bilateral ibotenic acid lesions to 3 areas of striatum were examined on a conditional visual discrimination task involving temporal frequency (SLOW vs FAST flashes) that had previously been shown to be sensitive to the effects of dorsal striatal dopamine depletion. Two of the groups, namely, those with nucleus accumbens (ACC) and lateral caudate-putamen (LCP) lesions, were very disrupted in the acquisition of the task. The nature of the respective impairments of the 2 groups was dissociable, however. The performance of the ACC group could be improved either by manipulations of stimulus duration or inter-stimulus interval, implying an attentional deficit. In contrast, the rats with lesions of the LCP were not significantly improved by any of the behavioural challenges. Their performance was characterised by a bias to respond to the SLOW discriminandum. Under conditions of non-reward, the LCP group extinguished their responding at a similar rate to control rats whereas the ACC group were very much more persistent. Lesions of the medial caudate-putamen failed to affect any index of performance significantly. These data suggest that the LCP is necessary for the acquisition of arbitrary stimulus-response rules and that damage to an equivalent area in humans, such as in Huntington's disease, may explain deficits of procedural memory. The second part of the experiment investigated the effects of ACC lesions on established performance of the schedule. The lesioned group behaved identically to the ACC group that had been lesioned prior to acquisition, both in terms of accuracy and degree of persistence in extinction, further implying the role of attentional factors and inflexibility in the lesion-induced deficit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caudate Nucleus / physiology
  • Corpus Striatum / anatomy & histology
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology
  • Extinction, Psychological
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Putamen / physiology
  • Rats