Primate retrosplenial cortex (RSC) is important for memory but patient neuropathologies are diffuse so its key contributions to memory remain elusive. This study provides the first causal evidence that RSC in macaque monkeys is crucial for postoperative retention of preoperatively and postoperatively acquired memories. Preoperatively, monkeys learned 300 object-in-place scene discriminations across sessions. After RSC removal, one-trial postoperative retention tests revealed significant retrograde memory loss for these 300 discriminations relative to unoperated control monkeys. Less robust evidence was found for a deficit in anterograde memory (new postoperative learning) after RSC lesions as new learning to criterion measures failed to reveal any significant learning impairment. However, after achieving ≥90% learning criterion for the postoperatively presented novel 100 object-in-place scene discriminations, short-term retention (i.e., measured after 24 h delay) of this well-learnt set was impaired in the RSC monkeys relative to controls. A further experiment assessed rapid "within" session acquisition of novel object-in-place scene discriminations, again confirming that new learning per se was unimpaired by bilateral RSC removal. Primate RSC contributes critically to memory by supporting normal retention of information, even when this information does not involve an autobiographical component.
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amnesia, cingulate cortex, learning, lesion, macaque, retention, Animals, Discrimination (Psychology), Discrimination Learning, Female, Gyrus Cinguli, Macaca mulatta, Male, Memory, Neuropsychological Tests, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Time Factors