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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.


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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