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Curr Biol. 2011 Nov 22;21(22):1900-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.09.036. Epub 2011 Nov 3.

Hippocampal-prefrontal connectivity predicts midfrontal oscillations and long-term memory performance.

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Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Weesperplein 4, Amsterdam 1018 XA, The Netherlands.


The hippocampus and prefrontal cortex interact to support working memory (WM) and long-term memory [1-3]. Neurophysiologically, WM is thought to be subserved by reverberatory activity of distributed networks within the prefrontal cortex (PFC) [2, 4-8], which become synchronized with reverberatory activity in the hippocampus [1, 4]. This electrophysiological synchronization is difficult to study in humans because noninvasive electroencephalography (EEG) cannot measure hippocampus activity. Here, using a novel integration of EEG and diffusion-weighted imaging, it is shown that individuals with relatively stronger anatomical connectivity linking the hippocampus to the right ventrolateral PFC (ventral Brodmann area 46) exhibited slower frequency neuronal oscillations during a WM task. Furthermore, subjects with stronger hippocampus-PFC connectivity were better able to encode the complex pictures used in the WM task into long-term memory. These findings are consistent with models suggesting that electrophysiological oscillations provide a mechanism of long-range interactions [9] and link hippocampus-PFC structural connectivity to PFC rhythmic electrical dynamics and memory performance. More generally, these results highlight the importance of incorporating individual differences when linking structure and function to cognition.

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