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J Comp Neurol. 1999 Aug 2;410(3):343-67.

Medial prefrontal cortices are unified by common connections with superior temporal cortices and distinguished by input from memory-related areas in the rhesus monkey.

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Department of Health Sciences, Boston University, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Medial prefrontal cortices in primates have been associated with emotion, memory, and complex cognitive processes. Here we investigated whether the pattern of cortical connections could indicate whether the medial prefrontal cortex constitutes a homogeneous region, or if it can be parceled into distinct sectors. Projections from medial temporal memory-related cortices subdivided medial cortices into different sectors, by targeting preferentially caudal medial areas (area 24, caudal 32 and 25), to a lesser extent rostral medial areas (rostral area 32, areas 14 and 10), and sparsely area 9. Area 9 was distinguished by its strong connections with premotor cortices. Projections from unimodal sensory cortices reached preferentially specific medial cortices, including a projection from visual cortices to area 32/24, from somatosensory cortices to area 9, and from olfactory cortices to area 14. Medial cortices were robustly interconnected, suggesting that local circuits are important in the neural processing in this region. Medial prefrontal cortices were unified by bidirectional connections with superior temporal cortices, including auditory areas. Auditory pathways may have a role in the specialization of medial prefrontal cortices in species-specific communication in non-human primates and language functions in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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