Anterior thalamic lesions and neuronal activity in the cingulate and retrosplenial cortices during discriminative avoidance behavior in rabbits


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Abstract

Bilateral electrolytic lesions of the anteroventral nucleus of the thalamus given after training impaired retention performance (extinction and reacquisition) of 12 male New Zealand White rabbits in a differential avoidance conditioning task. In addition, the lesions abolished the excitatory, discriminative multiple-unit discharges that had developed in the cingulate and retrosplenial cortices to the auditory CSs during the course of behavioral acquisition, prior to the induction of the lesions. The excitatory discharges were supplanted in the Ss with lesions by CS-elicited reduction of neuronal firing to levels below the prestimulus baseline. Lesions given to 8 Ss before training did not disrupt behavioral acquisition, but they did eliminate the excitatory tone-elicited neuronal discharges that normally occur in the cortex before and during training. The CS-elicited reduction of neuronal firing did not occur at the beginning of training in the Ss given lesions before training, but it developed during the course of training. The lesions did not eliminate the excitatory and discriminative neuronal activity of the prefrontal cortex. Results demonstrate the excitatory and discriminative neuronal discharges in the cingulate and retrosplenial cortices are critically dependent on the connections of these areas with the anterior thalamic nuclei. (26 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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