Heterogeneity in the pyramidal network of the medial prefrontal cortex

Nat Neurosci. 2006 Apr;9(4):534-42. doi: 10.1038/nn1670. Epub 2006 Mar 19.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ferrets
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Nerve Net* / anatomy & histology
  • Nerve Net* / physiology
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Prefrontal Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Pyramidal Cells* / cytology
  • Pyramidal Cells* / metabolism
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission