New Orleans, LA
Head direction cells provide a stable representation of directional heading that may contribute to spatial learning, as indicated by impaired spatial performance after damage to the ascending head direction cell circuit. However, brain lesions often produce collateral damage, and the loss of other brain signals could underlie the observed spatial deficits. We therefore tested whether the head direction signal is related to spatial learning by evaluating the radial arm maze performance of otoconiadeficient tilted mice, which have degraded head direction signals but no other known deficits. Homozygous tilted mice and heterozygous littermate control animals performed a six-arm radial maze discrimination task where the same two arms were baited for four trials per day, across ten days. Control mice averaged >80% correct arm choices by the seventh day of training whereas tilted mice improved across days but did not exceed 65% correct arm choices. The performance deficit in tilted mice was influenced by working memory and reference memory errors, both of which were more frequent in tilted mice than in control mice. These results suggest the head direction signal is related to spatial learning.
SPATIAL LEARNING HEAD DIRECTION CELL ORIENTATION
Ryan M. Yoder and Seth L. Kirby (2012).
Impaired Spatial Learning in Otoconia-Deficient Mice. Presented at Neuroscience 2012, New Orleans, LA.