The Rat Retrosplenial Cortex Is Required When Visual Cues Are Used Flexibly to Determine Location

Behav Brain Res. 2014 Apr 15;263(100):98-107. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2014.01.028. Epub 2014 Jan 29.


The present study examined the consequences of retrosplenial cortex lesions in rats on two novel spatial tasks. In the first experiment, rats discriminated opposing room views from the same general location, along with their opposing directions of travel ('Perspective' task). Rats were trained with food rewards using a go/no-go design. Extensive retrosplenial cortex lesions involving both the granular and dysgranular areas impaired acquisition of this discrimination, which relied on distal visual cues. The same rats were then trained on a non-spatial go/no-go discrimination between different digging media. No lesion effect was apparent. In the final experiment, rats discriminated between two locations within a room ('Location' task) such that direction of travel at each location would be of less help in solving the problem. Both extensive retrosplenial lesions and selective dysgranular retrosplenial lesions impaired this Location task. These results highlight the importance of the retrosplenial cortex (areas 29 and 30), including the dysgranular cortex (area 30), for the effective use of distal visual cues to solve spatial problems. The findings, which help to explain the bias away from visual allocentric solutions that is shown by rats with retrosplenial cortex lesions when performing spatial tasks, also support the notion that the region assists the integration of different categories of visuospatial information.

Keywords: Cingulate cortex; Navigation; Orientation; Perspective; Spatial memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cues
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology
  • Gyrus Cinguli / pathology
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology*
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiopathology
  • Learning / physiology
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Rats
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*