Top-down control of motor cortex ensembles by dorsomedial prefrontal cortex

Neuron. 2006 Dec 7;52(5):921-31. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2006.10.021.


Dorsomedial prefrontal cortex is critical for the temporal control of behavior. Dorsomedial prefrontal cortex might alter neuronal activity in areas such as motor cortex to inhibit temporally inappropriate responses. We tested this hypothesis by recording from neuronal ensembles in rodent dorsomedial prefrontal cortex during a delayed-response task. One-third of dorsomedial prefrontal neurons were significantly modulated during the delay period. The activity of many of these neurons was predictive of premature responding. We then reversibly inactivated dorsomedial prefrontal cortex while recording ensemble activity in motor cortex. Inactivation of dorsomedial prefrontal cortex reduced delay-related firing, but not response-related firing, in motor cortex. Finally, we made simultaneous recordings in dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and motor cortex and found strong delay-related temporal correlations between neurons in the two cortical areas. These data suggest that functional interactions between dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and motor cortex might serve as a top-down control signal that inhibits inappropriate responding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Electrophysiology
  • Male
  • Motor Cortex / cytology
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Prefrontal Cortex / cytology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans