Long-term effects of neonatal medial temporal ablations on socioemotional behavior in monkeys (Macaca mulatta)

Behav Neurosci. 2010 Dec;124(6):742-60. doi: 10.1037/a0021622.


Socioemotional abnormalities, including decreased social interactions and increased self-directed activity, were reported when rhesus monkeys with neonatal ablations of either the medial temporal lobe (AH) or the inferior temporal cortex (TE) were paired with unoperated peers at two and six months of age, though these abnormalities were more severe in Group AH (Bachevalier et al., 2001). As adults (Experiment 1), the monkeys were re-evaluated in the same dyads and their reactivity to novel toys, social status, and reactions to separation were also assessed. Group TE now showed only few if any of the abnormal behaviors observed in infancy. In contrast, Group AH continued to display decreased social interactions and increased self-directed activity and showed also increased submission and reduced responses to separation, but normal reactivity to novel toys. To determine whether this degree of socioemotional impairment was less severe than that produced by the same damage in adulthood, we assessed dyadic social interactions of monkeys raised until adulthood in laboratory conditions similar to those in Experiment 1 and then given the AH ablations (Experiment 2). Two months postoperatively these monkeys showed a small reduction in social interactions that became more pronounced six months postoperatively, yet remained less severe than that seen in the infant-lesioned monkeys. No other socioemotional effects, except for an increase in food/water consumption, were observed. The finding that neonatal AH lesions produce more severe socioemotional disturbances than the same lesion in adulthood is the reverse of the effect commonly reported for other cognitive functions after cerebral damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiopathology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Environment
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Time