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Behav Neurosci. 2001 Aug;115(4):861-9.

Loss of the thalamic nuclei for "head direction" impairs performance on spatial memory tasks in rats.

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  • 1School of Psychology, Cardiff University, United Kingdom.


This study sought to characterize the effects of removing the nuclei of primary importance in relaying the thalamic head direction signal to the hippocampal formation (the anterior dorsal [AD] and lateral dorsal [LD] nuclei) on the performance of a variety of spatial and nonspatial tasks. The results indicate that combined excitotoxic lesions of the AD and LD nuclei produce marked deficits on a variety of spatial tasks. These tasks included T-maze alternation and the ability to locate a hidden platform set at a fixed distance and fixed direction from a beacon in a Morris water maze. Although object recognition appeared unaffected, marked impairments were found in the ability to detect when an object was placed in a novel position (object-in-place memory).

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