The avian hippocampal formation (HF) is homologous to the mammalian hippocampus and plays a central role in the control of spatial cognition. In homing pigeons, HF supports navigation by familiar landmarks and landscape features. However, what has remained relatively unexplored is the importance of HF for the retention of previously acquired spatial information. For example, to date, no systematic GPS-tracking studies on the retention of HF-dependent navigational memory in homing pigeons have been performed. Therefore, the current study was designed to compare the pre- and post-surgical navigational performance of sham-lesioned control and HFlesioned pigeons tracked from three different sites located in different directions with respect to home. The pre- and post-surgical comparison of the pigeons’ flight paths near the release sites and before reaching the area surrounding the home loft (4 km radius from the loft) revealed that the control and HF-lesioned pigeons displayed similarly successful retention. By contrast, the HF-lesioned pigeons displayed dramatically and consistently impaired retention in navigating to their home loft during the terminal phase of the homing flight near home, i.e., where navigation is supported by memory for landmark and landscape features. The data demonstrate that HF lesions lead to a dramatic loss of pre-surgically acquired landmark and landscape navigational information while sparing those mechanisms associated with navigation from locations distant from home.

GPS-profiling of retrograde navigational impairments associated with hippocampal lesion in homing pigeons.

Anna Gagliardo
Primo
;
Enrica Pollonara;Giovanni Casini;Maria Grazia Rossino;
2021

Abstract

The avian hippocampal formation (HF) is homologous to the mammalian hippocampus and plays a central role in the control of spatial cognition. In homing pigeons, HF supports navigation by familiar landmarks and landscape features. However, what has remained relatively unexplored is the importance of HF for the retention of previously acquired spatial information. For example, to date, no systematic GPS-tracking studies on the retention of HF-dependent navigational memory in homing pigeons have been performed. Therefore, the current study was designed to compare the pre- and post-surgical navigational performance of sham-lesioned control and HFlesioned pigeons tracked from three different sites located in different directions with respect to home. The pre- and post-surgical comparison of the pigeons’ flight paths near the release sites and before reaching the area surrounding the home loft (4 km radius from the loft) revealed that the control and HF-lesioned pigeons displayed similarly successful retention. By contrast, the HF-lesioned pigeons displayed dramatically and consistently impaired retention in navigating to their home loft during the terminal phase of the homing flight near home, i.e., where navigation is supported by memory for landmark and landscape features. The data demonstrate that HF lesions lead to a dramatic loss of pre-surgically acquired landmark and landscape navigational information while sparing those mechanisms associated with navigation from locations distant from home.
Gagliardo, Anna; Colombo, Silvia; Pollonara, Enrica; Casini, Giovanni; Rossino, MARIA GRAZIA; Wikelski, Martin; Bingman, Verner P.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1103179
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