Electrophysiological study of prefrontal neurones of cats during a motor task

Pflugers Arch. 1997 May;434(1):91-6. doi: 10.1007/s004240050367.


The prefrontal cortex is involved in many processes, some of which are related to motor activity such eye movements and speech. Experimental data exist that suggest that prefrontal cortical activity occurs in relation to attention, short-term memory, affective discrimination, and complex forms of motor behaviour, i.e. anticipatory preparation, motor sequences, programming of speech, etc. We were interested in studying participation of this cortical region in locomotion. For this purpose, recordings were made of unitary activity in the prefrontal cortex of chronically prepared cats walking on an exercise belt that was moving at a speed of 0.1 m/s. From a total of 63 neurones in the prefrontal area from which recordings were made, 37 (59%) changed their activity during locomotion, 28 of which (76%) increased and 9 of which (24%) decreased their frequency of discharge; the remaining 26 units (41%) showed no locomotor-related change in activity. The results obtained show that 59% of prefrontal units are involved in the locomotor process and it is reasonable to assume that their activity contributes to the control of the movements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Female
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*