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J Neurophysiol. 2004 Jun;91(6):2707-22. Epub 2004 Jan 28.

Area-selective neuronal activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex for information retrieval and action planning.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Seiryo-cho 2-1, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8575, Japan.


We compared how neurons in the dorsal and ventral regions of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dl-PFC) participate in processing 2 sets of sensory signals, given at intervals, to generate plans for future actions. For the first set of visual signals, neurons in the ventral region of dl-PFC responded preferentially to the visuospatial properties of the signal, whereas neurons in the dorsal region of dl-PFC were involved primarily in retrieving information from the signal, such as the location of the target or which arm to use. For the second set of visual signals, most ventral dl-PFC neurons reflected either the sensory properties of the signals or the information retrieved from each signal. By contrast, dorsal neurons were involved more in integrating information about the target location and which arm to use to reach the target, thereby generating information that could be used to plan future actions. Thus sensorimotor transformations in the dorsolateral PFC appear to be time-variant and region-selective.

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