High-frequency, long-range coupling between prefrontal and visual cortex during attention

Science. 2009 May 29;324(5931):1207-10. doi: 10.1126/science.1171402.


Electrical recordings in humans and monkeys show attentional enhancement of evoked responses and gamma synchrony in ventral stream cortical areas. Does this synchrony result from intrinsic activity in visual cortex or from inputs from other structures? Using paired recordings in the frontal eye field (FEF) and area V4, we found that attention to a stimulus in their joint receptive field leads to enhanced oscillatory coupling between the two areas, particularly at gamma frequencies. This coupling appeared to be initiated by FEF and was time-shifted by about 8 to 13 milliseconds across a range of frequencies. Considering the expected conduction and synaptic delays between the areas, this time-shifted coupling at gamma frequencies may optimize the postsynaptic impact of spikes from one area upon the other, improving cross-area communication with attention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Synaptic Potentials
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology