, Volume 158, Issue 3, pp 289-301
Date: 22 Jun 2004

Cognitive potentials in the basal ganglia—frontocortical circuits. An intracerebral recording study

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We studied cognitive functions related to processing sensory and motor activities in the basal ganglia (BG), specifically in the putamen and in cortical structures forming the BG-frontocortical circuits. Intracerebral recordings were made from 160 brain sites in 32 epilepsy surgery candidates. We studied P3-like potentials in five different tests evoked by auditory and visual stimuli, and two sustained potentials that are related to cognitive activities linked with movement preparation: BP (Bereitschaftspotential) and CNV (contingent negative variation). We compared the presence of a potential with a phase reversal or an amplitude gradient to the absence of a generator. All of the studied cognitive potentials were generated in the BG; the occurrence in frontal cortical areas was more selective. The frequency of all but one potential was significantly higher in the BG than in the prefrontal and in the cingulate cortices. The P3-like potentials elicited in the oddball paradigm were also more frequent in the BG than in the motor/premotor cortex, while the occurrence of potentials elicited in motor tasks (BP, CNV, and P3-like potentials in the CNV paradigm) in the motor cortex did not significantly differ from the occurrence in the BG. The processing of motor tasks fits with the model by Alexander et al. of segregated information processing in the motor loop. A variable and task-dependent internal organisation is more probable in cognitive sensory information processing. Cognitive potentials were recorded from all over the putamen. The BG may play an integrative role in cognitive information processing.