Facilitation and restoration of cognitive function in primate prefrontal cortex by a neuroprosthesis that utilizes minicolumn-specific neural firing

J Neural Eng. 2012 Oct;9(5):056012. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/9/5/056012. Epub 2012 Sep 13.


Objective: Maintenance of cognitive control is a major concern for many human disease conditions; therefore, a major goal of human neuroprosthetics is to facilitate and/or recover the cognitive function when such circumstances impair appropriate decision making.

Approach: Minicolumnar activity from the prefrontal cortex (PFC) was recorded from nonhuman primates trained to perform a delayed match to sample (DMS), via custom-designed conformal multielectrode arrays that provided inter-laminar recordings from neurons in the PFC layer 2/3 and layer 5. Such recordings were analyzed via a previously demonstrated nonlinear multi-input-multi-output (MIMO) neuroprosthesis in rodents, which extracted and characterized multicolumnar firing patterns during DMS performance.

Main results: The MIMO model verified that the conformal recorded individual PFC minicolumns responded to entrained target selections in patterns critical for successful DMS performance. This allowed the substitution of task-related layer 5 neuron firing patterns with electrical stimulation in the same recording regions during columnar transmission from layer 2/3 at the time of target selection. Such stimulation improved normal task performance, but more importantly, recovered performance when applied as a neuroprosthesis following the pharmacological disruption of decision making in the same task.

Significance: These findings provide the first successful application of neuroprosthesis in the primate brain designed specifically to restore or repair the disrupted cognitive function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cocaine / pharmacology
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Neural Prostheses*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Prefrontal Cortex / drug effects
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Random Allocation


  • Cocaine