Article abstract

Nature Neuroscience 9, 534 - 542 (2006)
Published online: 19 March 2006 | doi:10.1038/nn1670

Heterogeneity in the pyramidal network of the medial prefrontal cortex

Yun Wang1, Henry Markram2, Philip H Goodman3, Thomas K Berger2, Junying Ma1 & Patricia S Goldman-Rakic4,5

The prefrontal cortex is specially adapted to generate persistent activity that outlasts stimuli and is resistant to distractors, presumed to be the basis of working memory. The pyramidal network that supports this activity is unknown. Multineuron patch-clamp recordings in the ferret medial prefrontal cortex showed a heterogeneity of synapses interconnecting distinct subnetworks of different pyramidal cells. One subnetwork was similar to the pyramidal network commonly found in primary sensory areas, consisting of accommodating pyramidal cells interconnected with depressing synapses. The other subnetwork contained complex pyramidal cells with dual apical dendrites displaying nonaccommodating discharge patterns; these cells were hyper-reciprocally connected with facilitating synapses displaying pronounced synaptic augmentation and post-tetanic potentiation. These cellular, synaptic and network properties could amplify recurrent interactions between pyramidal neurons and support persistent activity in the prefrontal cortex.

  1. Division of Neurology Research, Caritas St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts 02135, USA.
  2. Brain and Mind Institute, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne 1015, Switzerland.
  3. Department of Internal Medicine and Program in Biomedical Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada 89557, USA.
  4. Department of Neurobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, USA.
  5. Deceased.

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