Relational memory for object identity and spatial location in rats with lesions of perirhinal cortex, amygdala and hippocampus.Brain Res Bull. 2005 May 30; 65(6):501-12.BR
Previous studies dissociate medial temporal lobe regions using non-relational object versus relational spatial tasks. We compared a relational object identity task to the commonly used, relational spatial Morris water task. Lesions of perirhinal cortex, amygdala and hippocampus led to impaired performance on only the relational object preference task. Rats with perirhinal cortex and amygdala lesions performed normally on the Morris water task, but showed reduced perseveration in the correct quadrant on the probe trial. Rats with hippocampal damage were impaired on all measures of the Morris water task. Our findings demonstrate that perirhinal and amygdala damage creates impairments for relational tasks that rely on information processed by these structures (object identity and stimulus valence, respectively). In addition, these structures contribute non-essentially to performance of relational spatial tasks. The hippocampus is critical for all tasks that require the use of relational representations, regardless of whether the disambiguating information is provided by object identity or spatial arrangements. The current pattern of results suggests that the previous object-spatial dissociations among medial temporal lobe regions may be due to the relational nature of the spatial tasks versus the non-relational nature of the object tasks. Further, they illustrate that discrete dissociations among different types of processing may be an oversimplification.