Task-Correlated Cortical Asymmetry and Intra- and Inter-Hemispheric Separation

Sci Rep. 2017 Nov 6;7(1):14602. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-15109-x.


Cerebral lateralization is expressed at both the structural and functional levels, and can exist as either a stable characteristic or as a dynamic feature during behavior and development. The anatomically relatively simple olfactory system demonstrates lateralization in both human and non-human animals. Here, we explored functional lateralization in both primary olfactory cortex - a region critical for odor memory and perception- and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) - a region involved in reversal learning- in rats performing an odor learning and reversal task. We find significant asymmetry in both olfactory and orbitofrontal cortical odor-evoked activity, which is expressed in a performance- and task-dependent manner. The emergence of learning-dependent asymmetry during reversal learning was associated with decreased functional connectivity both between the bilateral OFC and between the OFC-olfactory cortex. The results suggest an inter-hemispheric asymmetry and olfactory cortical functional separation that may allow multiple, specialized processing circuits to emerge during a reversal task requiring behavioral flexibility.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Beta Rhythm
  • Choice Behavior / physiology
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Functional Laterality*
  • Male
  • Olfactory Cortex / physiology*
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology
  • Olfactory Perception / physiology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Reversal Learning / physiology*


  • protein kinase C gamma
  • Protein Kinase C