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This article deals with the experimental production of lesions in animals. For details of effects in humans see Brain lesions in humans

Brain lesions are experimental lesions produced in animals for the purpose of studying brain function.


DuVerney was the first to use experimental ablation method on animals in 1679. Flourens first published the method in 1824, describing the method and behavioral effect of brain damage.

Lesions done by knife cuts and suction techniques, called mechanical lesions, were tried by Veyssiere and Nothnagel in 1874. This process was done by inserting a fine wire blade through the head, rotating the curved or angled wire, and cutting neural projection. Baginski and Lehmann used this method with thin glass tube lowered through a small hole in the skull in 1886.

In 1895, Golsinger was the first to make electrolytic lesions in animals. In 1898, Sellier and Verger destroyed discrete areas in the caudate and anterior segment of internal capsule by passing current through double-needle insulated electrodes. This process kills neurons surrounding the electrodes.

In 1908, Horsley and Clark developed the stereotaxic method and combined it with electrolytic lesions to improve localization, precision, and reliability of brain damage in subcortical structures.

In the 1940s to 1950s, Lobotomy was a popular procedure for curing various psychological conditions which relied on lesioning the frontal lobes.

Using animal subjects gives researchers the ability to lesion specific areas in the subjects, allowing them to quickly acquire a large group of subjects. An example of such a study is the lesioning of rat hippocampi to establish the role of the hippocampus in object recognition and object recency.[1]

See also


  1. Albasser, Amin, Lin, Iordanova, Aggelton. Evidence That the Rat Hippocampus Has Contrasting Roles in Object Recognition Memory and Object Recency Memory