The rhinal cortex in the medial temporal lobe has been implicated in object recognition memory tasks and indeed is considered to be the critical node in a visual memory network. Previous studies using the 2-deoxyglucose method have shown that thalamic and hippocampal structures thought to be involved in visual recognition memory are also engaged by spatial and object working memory tasks in the nonhuman primate. Networks engaged in memory processing can be recognized by analysis of patterns of activation accompanying performance of specifically designed tasks. In the present study, we compared metabolic activation of the entorhinal and perirhinal cortex during the performance of three working memory tasks [delayed response (DR), delayed alternation (DA), and delayed object alternation (DOA)] to that induced by a standard recognition memory task [delayed match-to-sample (DMS)] and a sensorimotor control task in rhesus monkeys. A region-of-interest analysis revealed elevated local cerebral glucose utilization in the perirhinal cortex in animals performing the DA, DOA, and DMS tasks, and animals performing the DMS task were distinct in showing a strong focus of activation in the lateral perirhinal cortex. No significant differences were evident between groups performing memory and control tasks in the entorhinal cortex. These findings suggest that the perirhinal cortex may play a much broader role in memory processing than has been previously thought, encompassing explicit working memory as well as recognition memory.
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