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Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2007;9(2):141-51.

Frontal-subcortical circuitry and behavior.

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Department of Psychiatry, Graz Medical University, Auenbruggerplatz 31, 8036 Graz, Austria.


The neuropsychiatric manifestations of neurodegenerative diseases are closely linked to neurocircuitry defects. Frontal-subcortical circuits, in particular, are effector mechanisms that allow the organism to act on its environment. In this paper, we present the three main frontal-subcortical circuits: the dorsolateral prefrontal circuit allows the organization of information to facilitate a response; the anterior cingulate circuit is required for motivated behavior; and the orbitofrontal circuit allows the integration of limbic and emotional information into behavioral responses. Impaired executive functions, apathy, and impulsivity are hallmarks of frontal-subcortical circuit dysfunction. A variety of other neuropsychiatric disorders, such as Tourette's syndrome, Huntington's disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, and mood disorders may result from disturbances that have a direct or indirect impact on the integrity or functioning of these loops.

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