Neurophysiological Correlates of Delayed Visual Differentiation Tasks in Monkeys: the Effects of the Site of Intracortical Blockade of NMDA Receptors

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A delayed visual differentiation task using stimuli of different colors was used in rhesus macaques to study the characteristics of visual recognition, short-term memory, and the responses of neurons recorded simultaneously in the visual and prefrontal areas of the cortex, along with their relationships with the site of intracortical (fields 17 or 46) perfusion of the glutamate receptor antagonist 2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (APV). The behavioral characteristics and spike activity of individual cells in cortical fields 17 and 46 were recorded before and after perfusion with APV and after washing away of traces of APV. Multifactor dispersion analysis showed that the effect of APV in monkeys consisted of decreases in the probability of correct responses, leading to a decrease (two-fold) in the duration of short-term storage of information and a significant increase in the motor reaction time. The probability of correct solutions depended on the site of APV perfusion in the cortex, while the motor response time was independent of the perfusion site. Perfusion of field 46 with APV, unlike perfusion of field 17, altered the spike activity only of neurons in the prefrontal cortex, while no significant changes were seen in the neuron activity of the visual cortex. The actions of APV were accompanied by significant desynchronization of neuron activity in these two areas as compared with the level of synchronization in normal conditions; after traces of APV were washed away, the extent of desynchronization decreased. The neurophysiological correlates of cognitive dysfunctions associated with degradation of visual recognition and short-term memory due to modification of glutamatergic structures by blockade of NMDA receptors are discussed.

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