Slide 2

Neurons in the Prefrontal Cortex generate persistent activity, proposed to result from recurrent excitation within local circuits


Persistent activity during working memory may be generated through a balanced increase in recurrent excitation and inhibition within a subgroup of cortical neurons. A. In one classical paradigm of working memory, the animal is required to fixate a center point and to remember for a few seconds the location of a target that is briefly flashed on screen. After the delay (memory) period, the animal performs a saccade to the target. Neurons in the prefrontal cortex maintain activity at 5-40 Hz during the delay period and this activity is specific for the location of the target to be remembered. B. Models of persistent activity in networks of cortical cells depend on recurrent excitation that is balanced by local inhibition. The cessation of the activity is hypothesized to occur through a strong activition of inhibitory neurons. 


For more information see:

Goldman-Rakic, Scientific American, 267: 111; 

Wang, Trends in Neuroscience, 24: 455;

Brunel and Wang, J. Comp. Neuroscience 11: 63. 

Funahashi S, Bruce CJ, Goldman-Rakic PS. Neuronal activity related to saccadic eye movements in the monkey's dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. J Neurophysiol. 1991 Jun;65(6):1464-83. 

Wilson FA, Scalaidhe SP, Goldman-Rakic PS. Dissociation of object and spatial processing domains in primate prefrontal cortex. Science. 1993 Jun 25;260(5116):1955-8.

Funahashi S, Chafee MV, Goldman-Rakic PS. Prefrontal neuronal activity in rhesus monkeys performing a delayed anti-saccade task. Nature. 1993 Oct 21;365(6448):753-6.

Goldman-Rakic PS. Cellular basis of working memory. Neuron. 1995 Mar;14(3):477-85. 

Rao SG, Williams GV, Goldman-Rakic PS. Isodirectional tuning of adjacent interneurons and pyramidal cells during working memory: evidence for microcolumnar organization in PFC. J Neurophysiol. 1999 Apr;81(4):1903-16.

Compte A, Brunel N, Goldman-Rakic PS, Wang XJ. Synaptic mechanisms and network dynamics underlying spatial working memory in a cortical network model. Cereb Cortex. 2000 Sep;10(9):910-23.

Constantinidis C, Franowicz MN, Goldman-Rakic PS. The sensory nature of mnemonic representation in the primate prefrontal cortex. Nat Neurosci. 2001 Mar;4(3):311-6.

Constantinidis C, Franowicz MN, Goldman-Rakic PS. Coding specificity in cortical microcircuits: a multiple-electrode analysis of primate prefrontal cortex. J Neurosci. 2001 May 15;21(10):3646-55. 

Constantinidis C, Goldman-Rakic PS. Correlated discharges among putative pyramidal neurons and interneurons in the primate prefrontal cortex. J Neurophysiol. 2002 Dec;88(6):3487-97.