Anticipatory activity in rat medial prefrontal cortex during a working memory task
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Bai, W., Liu, T., Yi, H. et al. Neurosci. Bull. (2012) 28: 693. doi:10.1007/s12264-012-1291-x
- 355 Views
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.
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.
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.
The results indicate that the anticipatory activity of a neuronal ensemble in the prefrontal cortex may play a role in encoding working memory events.