Severity of memory impairment in monkeys as a function of locus and extent of damage within the medial temporal lobe memory system

Hippocampus. 1994 Aug;4(4):483-95. doi: 10.1002/hipo.450040410.


During the past decade, work with monkeys has helped identify the structures in the medial temporal lobe that are important for memory: the hippocampal region (including the hippocampus proper, the dentate gyrus, and the subicular complex) and adjacent cortical areas that are anatomically linked to the hippocampus, i.e., the entorhinal, perirhinal, and parahippocampal cortices. One idea that has emerged from this work is that the severity of memory impairment might increase as more components of the medial temporal lobe are damaged. We have evaluated this idea directly by examining behavioral data from 30 monkeys (ten normal monkeys and 20 monkeys with bilateral lesions involving structures within the medial temporal lobe) that have completed testing on our standard memory battery during the last 10 years. The main finding was that the severity of memory impairment depended on the locus and extent of damage to the medial temporal lobe. Specifically, damage limited to the hippocampal region produced a mild memory impairment. More severe memory impairment was produced when the damage was increased to include the adjacent entorhinal and parahippocampal cortices (the H+ lesion). Finally, memory impairment was even more severe when the H+ lesion was extended forward to include the anterior entorhinal cortex and the perirhinal cortex (H++ lesion). Taken together, these findings suggest that, whereas damage to the hippocampal region produces measurable memory impairment, a substantial part of the severe memory impairment produced by large medial temporal lobe lesions in humans and monkeys can be attributed to damage to entorhinal, perirhinal, and parahippocampal cortices adjacent to the hippocampal region.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Entorhinal Cortex / injuries
  • Entorhinal Cortex / pathology
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / injuries
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Memory Disorders / etiology*
  • Memory Disorders / pathology
  • Memory Disorders / psychology
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Temporal Lobe / injuries*
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology