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Behav Brain Res. 1997 Jun;86(1):41-7.

Disconnection of medial agranular and posterior parietal cortex produces multimodal neglect in rats.

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Department of Psychology, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb 60115, USA.


Two cortical areas in rats have been found to be important in directed attention and spatial processing: the medial agranular cortex (AGm), the rodent analog of the frontal eye fields; and the posterior parietal cortex (PPC), the rodent analog of area 7 in primates. As in primates, unilateral destruction of either of these cortical association areas produces severe contralesional neglect of visual, auditory, and tactile stimulation. AGm and PPC are reciprocally interconnected by longitudinally oriented axons traveling in layer VI of the cortex. Their trajectory provides a unique opportunity to examine the effects of disconnection of these two areas. The key question is whether these two regions function independently or as components of a cortical network for directed attention. Unilateral disconnection of the PPC and AGm was achieved via transverse knife-cuts extending through layer VI of cortex, and the disconnection verified by tract-tracing methods. The knife-cuts produced severe multimodal neglect and allesthesia/allokinesia. The deficits produced by the knife-cuts were virtually identical to those produced by unilateral destruction of these regions. The control operates, which received knife-cuts that spared the interconnections between the AGm and PPC, were unimpaired. The results indicate that AGm and PPC in rats function as parts of a cortical system for directed attention.

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