Microcircuitry of agranular frontal cortex: contrasting laminar connectivity between occipital and frontal areas

J Neurophysiol. 2015 May 1;113(9):3242-55. doi: 10.1152/jn.00624.2014. Epub 2015 Mar 4.


Neocortex is striking in its laminar architecture. Tracer studies have uncovered anatomical connectivity among laminae, but the functional connectivity between laminar compartments is still largely unknown. Such functional connectivity can be discerned through spontaneous neural correlations during rest. Previous work demonstrated a robust pattern of mesoscopic resting-state connectivity in macaque primary visual cortex (V1) through interlaminar cross-frequency coupling. Here we investigated whether this pattern generalizes to other cortical areas by comparing resting-state laminar connectivity between V1 and the supplementary eye field (SEF), a frontal area lacking a granular layer 4 (L4). Local field potentials (LFPs) were recorded with linear microelectrode arrays from all laminae of granular V1 and agranular SEF while monkeys rested in darkness. We found substantial differences in the relationship between the amplitude of gamma-band (>30 Hz) LFP and the phase of alpha-band (7-14 Hz) LFP between these areas. In V1, gamma amplitudes in L2/3 and L5 were coupled with alpha-band LFP phase in L5, as previously described. In contrast, in SEF phase-amplitude coupling was prominent within L3 and much weaker across layers. These results suggest that laminar interactions in agranular SEF are unlike those in granular V1. Thus the intrinsic functional connectivity of the cortical microcircuit does not seem to generalize across cortical areas.

Keywords: canonical microcircuit; cortical column; cross-frequency coupling; ongoing activity; phase-amplitude coupling; spontaneous activity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Microelectrodes
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Occipital Lobe / physiology*
  • Spectrum Analysis
  • Visual Pathways / pathology*