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Effects of serial lesions of somatosensory cortex and further neodecortication on retention of a rough-smooth discrimination in rats

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Five groups of rats with bilateral lesions of the somatosensory cortex and one of animals sustaining only sham operations were tested for retention of a rough-smooth discrimination. Two of the lesion groups had sequential unilateral ablations, in one case with interoperative testing, and three groups had one-stage bilateral lesions. The two groups of animals with serial lesions did not differ from each other or from sham operates in relearning the task. Rats with one-stage lesions and preoperative overtraining also performed well, but the other one-stage groups showed deficits relative to control and serial lesion groups. In the second experiment the sham operated rats from Experiment 1 experienced lesions anterior and posterior to the somatosensory zones. These lesions did not affect retention. Somatosensory cortex then was ablated in one operation and severe performance decrements were seen. Removal of additional neocortex in a sample of animals that had relearned the discrimination after one-stage somatosensory cortex lesions (Exp. 1) also affected retention. In contrast, retention was not impaired on some of the measures in those animals that originally had two-stage ablations. The findings from these two experiments show that some ablation effects can be circumvented with overtraining or serial lesion techniques. The data also indicate that non-somatosensory cortex may play a role in recovery after somatic cortex lesions, but that the substrates underlying recovery might, not be the same after one-stage and two-stage ablations.

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Finger, S., Simons, D. Effects of serial lesions of somatosensory cortex and further neodecortication on retention of a rough-smooth discrimination in rats. Exp Brain Res 25, 183–197 (1976).

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Key words

  • Somatosensory
  • Lesion
  • Somesthesis
  • Somatic Cortex
  • Discrimination
  • Serial Lesions
  • Learning
  • Recovery of Function