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Title: Thalamic mediodorsal nucleus and its participation in spatial working memory processes: comparison with the prefrontal cortex
Authors: Funahashi, Shintaro  KAKEN_id
Author's alias: 船橋, 新太郎
Keywords: thalamic mediodorsal nucleus
prefrontal cortex
spatial working memory
delayed-response
retrospective information
prospective information
Issue Date: 31-Jul-2013
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Journal title: Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience
Volume: 7
Thesis number: 36
Abstract: Working memory is a dynamic neural system that includes processes for temporarily maintaining and processing information. Working memory plays a significant role in a variety of cognitive functions, such as thinking, reasoning, decision-making, and language comprehension. Although the prefrontal cortex (PFC) is known to play an important role in working memory, several lines of evidence indicate that the thalamic mediodorsal nucleus (MD) also participates in this process. While monkeys perform spatial working memory tasks, MD neurons exhibit directionally selective delay-period activity, which is considered to be a neural correlate for the temporary maintenance of information in PFC neurons. Studies have also shown that, while most MD neurons maintain prospective motor information, some maintain retrospective sensory information. Thus, the MD plays a greater role in prospective motor aspects of working memory processes than the PFC, which participates more in retrospective aspects. For the performance of spatial working memory tasks, the information provided by a sensory cue needs to be transformed into motor information to give an appropriate response. A population vector analysis using neural activities revealed that, although the transformation of sensory-to-motor information occurred during the delay period in both the PFC and the MD, PFC activities maintained sensory information until the late phase of the delay period, while MD activities initially represented sensory information but then started to represent motor information in the earlier phase of the delay period. These results indicate that long-range neural interactions supported by reciprocal connections between the MD and the PFC could play an important role in the transformation of maintained information in working memory processes.
Rights: © 2013 Funahashi. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2433/176987
DOI(Published Version): 10.3389/fnsys.2013.00036
PubMed ID: 23914160
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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