A behavioral study of the contributions of cells and fibers of passage in the red nucleus of the rat to postural righting, skilled movements, and learning.

Article date: 1992/11/30

PubMed ID: 1472285

Journal name: Behavioural brain research (ISSN: 0166-4328)


Although the red nucleus consists of cells of origin for the rubro-spinal and rubro-olivary tracts, fibers of passage, including those of the superior cerebellar peduncle, which project from the cerebellum to the ventrolateral thalamus, pass through it. This study examined the relative effect of cell vs. fiber damage in the red nucleus on a number of behaviors thought to involve the red nucleus, including a skilled movement of reaching for food with a forelimb, postural righting on a surface and in the air, and learning a place response in a swimming pool test. Rats received unilateral or bilateral red nucleus lesions, using either the relatively cell-specific neurotoxins, ibotenic and quinolinic acid, or non-specific electrolytic anodal lesions. Both neurotoxic lesions effectively eliminated all red nucleus cell bodies, and in some animals they produced small cavities in the red nucleus and/or loss of cells in adjacent structures. Electrolytic lesions destroyed both cells and fibers, leaving a large cavity. The severity of the behavioral deficits were not related to the loss of red nucleus cells and there was a close relation between fiber damage and behavioral impairments on all of the tasks. The results suggest that for a number of behaviors, which have been thought to involve the red nucleus, impairments are more closely associated with fiber damage or damage to structures outside the red nucleus than they are to damage to cells of the red nucleus.

Author List: Whishaw I Q, Pellis S M, Pellis V C

Publication Types: Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Substances mentioned in the article:

Mesh terms: Animals; Appetitive Behavior/physiology; Behavior, Animal/physiology; Brain/physiology; Brain Mapping; Dominance, Cerebral/physiology; Female; Mental Recall/physiology; Motor Activity/physiology; Motor Skills/physiology; Nerve Fibers/physiology; Neural Pathways/physiology; Neurons/physiology; Orientation/physiology; Postural Balance/physiology; Posture/physiology; Psychomotor Performance/physiology; Rats; Red Nucleus/physiology; Spinal Cord/physiology;

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