Deficits of spatial and non-spatial memory and of auditory fear conditioning following anterior thalamic lesions in mice: comparison with chronic alcohol consumption

Authors

  • Aurélie Célérier,

    1. Université De Bordeaux 1, Umr Cnrs 5106. Laboratoire De Neurosciences Cognitives, Avenue Des Facultés, 33405 Talence-Cédex, France
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  • Raphaël Ognard,

    1. Université De Bordeaux 1, Umr Cnrs 5106. Laboratoire De Neurosciences Cognitives, Avenue Des Facultés, 33405 Talence-Cédex, France
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  • Laurence Decorte,

    1. Université De Bordeaux 1, Umr Cnrs 5106. Laboratoire De Neurosciences Cognitives, Avenue Des Facultés, 33405 Talence-Cédex, France
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  • Daniel Beracochea

    1. Université De Bordeaux 1, Umr Cnrs 5106. Laboratoire De Neurosciences Cognitives, Avenue Des Facultés, 33405 Talence-Cédex, France
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: Dr Daniel Beracochea, as above.
E-mail: d.beracochea@neurocog.u-bordeaux.fr

Abstract

This study was aimed at determining (i) whether or not bilateral subtotal lesions of the anterior thalamic nuclei (ATH) in rodents produced memory deficits for spatial and/or non-spatial information and of auditory fear conditioning, and (ii) if these eventual deficits resemble those produced by chronic alcohol consumption (CAC). Working memory was assessed using both spatial (spontaneous alternation) and non-spatial (temporal alternation) delayed response tasks. Results showed that ATH lesions induced delay-dependent memory impairments in both spatial and non-spatial alternation tasks, as well as a decreased level of auditory and background contextual fear conditioning compared with respective controls. CAC did not induce accelerated rate of forgetting in the spatial and non-spatial tasks, but increased the vulnerability to interference in the spatial task. CAC impaired only background contextual fear conditioning. We conclude that ATH nuclei are involved in the maintenance of information over time, regardless of the nature (spatial vs. non-spatial) of the information, and play a role in associative processes for both unimodal (the tone) and polymodal (contextual) information. In contrast, ATH dysfunction does not account for the memory disorders induced by the CAC treatment. Our results contribute to showing that the functional overlap between the structures comprising the hippocampo-mamillo-thalamic pathway is only partial.

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