Neuroscience Bulletin

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 693–703

Anticipatory activity in rat medial prefrontal cortex during a working memory task

  • Wenwen Bai
  • Tiaotiao Liu
  • Hu Yi
  • Shuangyan Li
  • Xin Tian
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12264-012-1291-x

Cite this article as:
Bai, W., Liu, T., Yi, H. et al. Neurosci. Bull. (2012) 28: 693. doi:10.1007/s12264-012-1291-x
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Abstract

Objective

Working memory is a key cognitive function in which the prefrontal cortex plays a crucial role. This study aimed to show the firing patterns of a neuronal population in the prefrontal cortex of the rat in a working memory task and to explore how a neuronal ensemble encodes a working memory event.

Methods

Sprague-Dawley rats were trained in a Y-maze until they reached an 80% correct rate in a working memory task. Then a 16-channel microelectrode array was implanted in the prefrontal cortex. After recovery, neuronal population activity was recorded during the task, using the Cerebus data-acquisition system. Spatio-temporal trains of action potentials were obtained from the original neuronal population signals.

Results

During the Y-maze working memory task, some neurons showed significantly increased firing rates and evident neuronal ensemble activity. Moreover, the anticipatory activity was associated with the delayed alternate choice of the upcoming movement. In correct trials, the averaged pre-event firing rate (10.86 ± 1.82 spikes/bin) was higher than the post-event rate (8.17 ± 1.15 spikes/bin) (P<0.05). However, in incorrect trials, the rates did not differ.

Conclusion

The results indicate that the anticipatory activity of a neuronal ensemble in the prefrontal cortex may play a role in encoding working memory events.

Keywords

anticipatory activityworking memoryratmedial prefrontal cortexneuronal ensemble

Copyright information

© Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wenwen Bai
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tiaotiao Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hu Yi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shuangyan Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xin Tian
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Biomedical EngineeringTianjin Medical UniversityTianjinChina
  2. 2.Laboratory of Neuroengineering, Research Center of Basic MedicineTianjin Medical UniversityTianjinChina