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Unilateral lesions of the dorsocentral striatum (DCS) disrupt spatial and temporal characteristics of food protection behavior


Spatial and temporal information processing provide a foundation for higher cognitive functions. The survival of animals depends on integrating spatial and temporal information to organize behavior. In general, previous research has focused on only one source of information processing; however, there is evidence to support a convergence in the processing of egocentric-spatial and temporal information within a cortico-striatal system of structures. The current study evaluated the contributions of the dorsocentral striatum (DCS) to egocentric-spatial and temporal (within the seconds-to-minutes range) processing of information using a food protection task. Long-Evans rats received unilateral NMDA lesions of the DCS followed by testing in a food protection task. Performance in this task is mediated by the motivation of the animal to consume a food item, their perception of the time required to consume a food item, their sensory ability to process egocentric cues, and their motor ability to evade an incoming conspecific. Unilateral DCS lesions were shown to impact both spatial and temporal characteristics of food protection. These results suggest that the DCS may be a critical structure for the integration of egocentric-spatial and temporal information within the interval timing range.

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We would like to thank Cara Wolf for her significant contributions to data analysis, E. Dawn Grisley for her significant contributions with the immunohistochemistry, and Timothy Heitter for animal care.

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Correspondence to Douglas G. Wallace.

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Blankenship, P.A., Cheatwood, J.L. & Wallace, D.G. Unilateral lesions of the dorsocentral striatum (DCS) disrupt spatial and temporal characteristics of food protection behavior. Brain Struct Funct 222, 2697–2710 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-017-1366-6

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  • Food protection
  • Egocentric processing
  • Interval timing
  • Dorsocentral striatum
  • DCS
  • Rattus Norvegicus