Inactivating the Subthalamic Nucleus in the Rat Induces Various Cognitive Deficits and Motivational Exacerbation

  • Christelle Baunez
  • Trevor W. Robbins
  • Marianne Amalric
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 52)


Considered for a long time as a “relay structure” in the so-called indirect pathway within the circuitry of the basal ganglia (DeLong, 1990), the subthalamic nucleus (STN) has been more recently given an integrative position on the basis of its connectivity (for review, see Parent and Hazrati, 1995; Vila et al., 2000). The role of STN in motor functions has been evidenced by the hyperkinetic syndrome observed after STN lesions in human and non-human primate (Crossman, 1987; Whittier, 1947; Whittier and Mettler, 1949), the circling behavior observed after unilateral STN lesion in rodents (Kafetzopoulos and Papadopoulos, 1983). More recently, inactivating the STN by using either lesions or high frequency stimulation of the STN has been shown to have beneficial effects in the treatment of motor deficits or cellular consequences of dopamine depletion in animal models of parkinsonism or in parkinsonian patients (Bergman et al., 1990; Aziz et al., 1991; Burbaud et al., 1995; Benazzouz et al., 1993; Limousin et al., 1995; Blandini et al., 1997). We previously provided evidence that lesions of the STN in a rat model of parkinsonism alleviate the akinetic deficits measured in a simple reaction time task. However, these lesions induced presumed non-motor deficits such as premature responding, suggesting that the STN could be involved in other aspects of response control (Baunez et al., 1995). The lack of complete recovery after STN lesions has also been confirmed by others (Henderson et al., 1999; Phillips and Brown, 1999).


Reaction Time Task Subthalamic Nucleus Lever Press Progressive Ratio Serial Reaction Time Task 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christelle Baunez
    • 1
  • Trevor W. Robbins
    • 2
  • Marianne Amalric
    • 1
  1. 1.LNCF-CNRS31 Chemin J. AiguierMarseille cedex 20France
  2. 2.Dept. Experimental PsychologyUniversity of CambridgeUK

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