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Enriched housing, reticular thalamic nucleus and nucleus basalis: Mediators of attention and learning?

Sauro KM, Sweeney M, Saari MJ (2001) Enriched housing, reticular thalamic nucleus and nucleus basalis: Mediators of attention and learning?. Neuroscience 2001 Abstracts 313.14. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.

Summary: Housing manipulations have been shown to alter behaviour, neural function and morphology. The Reticular Thalamic Nucleus (Rt) may be involved in thalamocortical relay loops possibly acting as a bi-directional filter for sensory information. Similarly, the Nucleus Basalis (NB) may play a role in attention via cholinergic projections to the cortex. In the current experiment 160 female Wistar rats received bilateral lesions of either the Rt (using ibotenic acid), the NB (using 192 IgG-saporin; Advanced Targeting Systems), or both. Following recovery, the rats were allocated to either an enriched or an isolated housing condition for two weeks. Following open field testing, a modification of Tolman’s latent learning paradigm was used to evaluate the effects of the treatments on attention. Thus, prior to behavioural testing half of the rats from each group were pre-exposed to the Spatial Orientation Task (SPOT) while the other half were not. Following sacrifice, brain slices were stained for metabolic activity using the cytochrome-oxidase method, for morphology using cresyl violet stain, and for a marker of cholinergic function, acetylcholinesterase. Data analysis revealed significant interactions among the lesions, housing and latent learning and provided some support for the suggestion that the Rt may filter incoming sensory information whereas the NB may mediate behaviourally relevant attention. Lesions and housing effects were confirmed by histology. (Approved by the Animal Care Committee; supported by Nipissing University).

Related Products: 192-IgG-SAP (Cat. #IT-01)

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