Continuing efforts toward designing odor-guided tasks for rats that are similar in memory demands to tasks used typically with primates have resulted in the development of a continuous delayed-nonmatching-to-sample (cDNM) task that is guided by olfactory stimuli. The results indicate that normal subjects acquire the cDNM task rapidly and that subsequent performance deteriorates with increases in memory delay or interitem interference. Moreover, different aspects of cDNM performance were shown to be differentially sensitive to selective lesions of the orbitofrontal and parahippocampal areas. Orbitofrontal cortex lesions disproportionately impaired cDNM acquisition; delay performance was impaired only under conditions of elevated levels of interitem interference. Combined perirhinal and entorhinal cortical lesions had no effect on cDNM acquisition but impaired cDNM performance at longer delays across all levels of interference. Fornix lesions did not impair either acquisition of cDNM or subsequent performance across long delays and increased interference. This pattern of impaired and spared capacities is similar to that observed in monkeys after lesions of analogous areas and is consistent with the notion that the prefrontal cortical system contributes preferentially to learning general task "rules" such as the nonmatching rule that is inherent in cDNM, whereas the perirhinal and entorhinal cortical areas are involved in the intermediate-term maintenance of memories for specific information.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Behavioral Neuroscience