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Behav Neurosci. 2008 Oct;122(5):1005-15. doi: 10.1037/a0012600.

Emergence of stereotypies in juvenile monkeys (Macaca mulatta) with neonatal amygdala or hippocampus lesions.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Center for Neuroscience, The M.I.N.D. Institute, University of California at Davis, CA 95817, USA. mdbauman@ucdavis.edu


The emergence of stereotypies was examined in juvenile rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) who, at 2 weeks of postnatal age, received selective bilateral ibotenic acid lesions of the amygdala (N = 8) or hippocampus (N = 8). The lesion groups were compared to age-matched control subjects that received a sham surgical procedure (N = 8). All subjects were maternally reared for the first 6 months and provided access to social groups throughout development. Pronounced stereotypies were not observed in any of the experimental groups during the first year of life. However, between 1 to 2 years of age, both amygdala- and hippocampus-lesioned subjects began to exhibit stereotypies. When observed as juveniles, both amygdala- and hippocampus-lesioned subjects consistently produced more stereotypies than the control subjects in a variety of contexts. More interesting, neonatal lesions of either the amygdala or hippocampus resulted in unique repertoires of repetitive behaviors. Amygdala-lesioned subjects exhibited more self-directed stereotypies and the hippocampus-lesioned subjects displayed more head-twisting. We discuss these results in relation to the neurobiological basis of repetitive stereotypies in neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism.

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