The anatomical relationship of the prefrontal cortex with the striatopallidal system, the thalamus and the amygdala: evidence for a parallel organization

Prog Brain Res. 1990;85:95-116; discussion 116-8. doi: 10.1016/s0079-6123(08)62677-1.


Recent findings in primates indicate that the connections of the frontal lobe, the basal ganglia, and the thalamus are organized in a number of parallel, functionally segregated circuits. In the present account, we have focused on the organization of the connections between the prefrontal cortex, the basal ganglia and the mediodorsal thalamic nucleus in the rat. It is concluded that in this species, in analogy with the situation in primates, a number of parallel basal ganglia-thalamocortical circuits exist. Furthermore, data are presented indicating that the projections from particular parts of the amygdala and from individual nuclei of the midline and intralaminar thalamic complex to the prefrontal cortex and the striatum are in register with the arrangements in the parallel circuits. These findings emphasize that the functions of the different subregions of the prefrontal cortex cannot be considered separately but must be viewed as components of the integrative functions of the circuits in which they are involved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / anatomy & histology*
  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / anatomy & histology*
  • Frontal Lobe / anatomy & histology*
  • Globus Pallidus / anatomy & histology*
  • Rats
  • Thalamus / anatomy & histology*