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Neuroscience. 2003;119(2):597-609.

Electrophysiological evidence for the existence of a posterior cortical-prefrontal-basal forebrain circuitry in modulating sensory responses in visual and somatosensory rat cortical areas.

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Department of Morphology, School of Medicine, Autonomous University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain.


The prefrontal cortex (PFC) receives input from sensory neocortical regions and sends projections to the basal forebrain (BF). The present study tested the possibility that pathways from sensory cortical regions via the PFC-BF and from the BF back to specific sensory cortical areas could modulate sensory responses. Two prefrontal areas that responded to stimulation of the primary somatosensory and visual cortices were delineated: an area encompassing the rostral part of the cingulate cortex that responded to visual cortex stimulation, and a region dorso-lateral to the first in the precentral-motor association area that reacted to somatosensory cortex stimulation. Moreover, BF neurons responded to PFC electrical stimulation. They were located in the ventral pallidum, substantia innominata and the horizontal limb of the diagonal-band areas. Of the responsive BF neurons 42% reacted only to stimulation of 'visually-responsive,' 33% responded only to the 'somatosensory-responsive' prefrontal sites and the remaining neurons reacted to both prefrontal cortical areas. The effect of BF and PFC stimulations on somatosensory and visual-evoked potentials was tested. BF stimulation increased the amplitude of both sensory-evoked potentials. However, stimulation of the 'somatosensory-responsive' prefrontal area increased only somatosensory-evoked potentials while 'visually-responsive' prefrontal-area stimulation increased only visual-evoked potentials. Atropine blocked both facilitatory effects. The proposed cortico-prefronto-basalo-cortical circuitry may have an important role in cortical plasticity and selective attention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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