Organization of long-range inputs and outputs of frontal cortex for top-down control.
ABSTRACT: Long-range projections from the frontal cortex are known to modulate sensory processing in multiple modalities. Although the mouse has become an increasingly important animal model for studying the circuit basis of behavior, the functional organization of its frontal cortical long-range connectivity remains poorly characterized. Here we used virus-assisted circuit mapping to identify the brain networks for top-down modulation of visual, somatosensory and auditory processing. The visual cortex is reciprocally connected to the anterior cingulate area, whereas the somatosensory and auditory cortices are connected to the primary and secondary motor cortices. Anterograde and retrograde tracing identified the cortical and subcortical structures belonging to each network. Furthermore, using new viral techniques to target subpopulations of frontal neurons projecting to the visual cortex versus the superior colliculus, we identified two distinct subnetworks within the visual network. These findings provide an anatomical foundation for understanding the brain mechanisms underlying top-down control of behavior.
Project description:The cerebellum processes information from functionally diverse regions of the cerebral cortex. Cerebellar input and output nuclei have connections with prefrontal, parietal, and sensory cortex as well as motor and premotor cortex. However, the topography of the connections between the cerebellar and cerebral cortices remains largely unmapped, as it is relatively unamenable to anatomical methods. We used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging to define subregions within the cerebellar cortex based on their functional connectivity with the cerebral cortex. We mapped resting-state functional connectivity voxel-wise across the cerebellar cortex, for cerebral-cortical masks covering prefrontal, motor, somatosensory, posterior parietal, visual, and auditory cortices. We found that the cerebellum can be divided into at least 2 zones: 1) a primary sensorimotor zone (Lobules V, VI, and VIII), which contains overlapping functional connectivity maps for domain-specific motor, somatosensory, visual, and auditory cortices; and 2) a supramodal zone (Lobules VIIa, Crus I, and II), which contains overlapping functional connectivity maps for prefrontal and posterior-parietal cortex. The cortical connectivity of the supramodal zone was driven by regions of frontal and parietal cortex which are not directly involved in sensory or motor processing, including dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the frontal pole, and the inferior parietal lobule.
Project description:The spatial organization of mouse frontal cortex is poorly understood. Here, we used voltage-sensitive dye to image electrical activity in the dorsal cortex of awake head-restrained mice. Whisker-deflection evoked the earliest sensory response in a localized region of primary somatosensory cortex and visual stimulation evoked the earliest responses in a localized region of primary visual cortex. Over the next milliseconds, the initial sensory response spread within the respective primary sensory cortex and into the surrounding higher order sensory cortices. In addition, secondary hotspots in the frontal cortex were evoked by whisker and visual stimulation, with the frontal hotspot for whisker deflection being more anterior and lateral compared to the frontal hotspot evoked by visual stimulation. Investigating axonal projections, we found that the somatosensory whisker cortex and the visual cortex directly innervated frontal cortex, with visual cortex axons innervating a region medial and posterior to the innervation from somatosensory cortex, consistent with the location of sensory responses in frontal cortex. In turn, the axonal outputs of these two frontal cortical areas innervate distinct regions of striatum, superior colliculus, and brainstem. Sensory input, therefore, appears to map onto modality-specific regions of frontal cortex, perhaps participating in distinct sensorimotor transformations, and directing distinct motor outputs.
Project description:The orchestration of orienting behaviors requires the interaction of many cortical and subcortical areas, for example the superior colliculus (SC), as well as prefrontal areas responsible for top-down control. Orienting involves different behaviors, such as approach and avoidance. In the rat, these behaviors are at least partially mapped onto different SC subdomains, the lateral (SCl) and medial (SCm), respectively. To delineate the circuitry involved in the two types of orienting behavior in mice, we injected retrograde tracer into the intermediate and deep layers of the SCm and SCl, and thereby determined the main input structures to these subdomains. Overall the SCm receives larger numbers of afferents compared to the SCl. The prefrontal cingulate area (Cg), visual, oculomotor, and auditory areas provide strong input to the SCm, while prefrontal motor area 2 (M2), and somatosensory areas provide strong input to the SCl. The prefrontal areas Cg and M2 in turn connect to different cortical and subcortical areas, as determined by anterograde tract tracing. Even though connectivity pattern often overlap, our labeling approaches identified segregated neural circuits involving SCm, Cg, secondary visual cortices, auditory areas, and the dysgranular retrospenial cortex likely to be involved in avoidance behaviors. Conversely, SCl, M2, somatosensory cortex, and the granular retrospenial cortex comprise a network likely involved in approach/appetitive behaviors.
Project description:The nervous system integrates information from multiple senses. This multisensory integration already occurs in primary sensory cortices via direct thalamocortical and corticocortical connections across modalities. In humans, sensory loss from birth results in functional recruitment of the deprived cortical territory by the spared senses but the underlying circuit changes are not well known. Using tracer injections into primary auditory, somatosensory, and visual cortex within the first postnatal month of life in a rodent model (Mongolian gerbil) we show that multisensory thalamocortical connections emerge before corticocortical connections but mostly disappear during development. Early auditory, somatosensory, or visual deprivation increases multisensory connections via axonal reorganization processes mediated by non-lemniscal thalamic nuclei and the primary areas themselves. Functional single-photon emission computed tomography of regional cerebral blood flow reveals altered stimulus-induced activity and higher functional connectivity specifically between primary areas in deprived animals. Together, we show that intracortical multisensory connections are formed as a consequence of sensory-driven multisensory thalamocortical activity and that spared senses functionally recruit deprived cortical areas by an altered development of sensory thalamocortical and corticocortical connections. The functional-anatomical changes after early sensory deprivation have translational implications for the therapy of developmental hearing loss, blindness, and sensory paralysis and might also underlie developmental synesthesia.
Project description:Our previous studies on scalp-recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) showed that somatosensory N140 evoked by a tactile vibration in working memory tasks was enhanced when human subjects expected a coming visual stimulus that had been paired with the tactile stimulus. The results suggested that such enhancement represented the cortical activities involved in tactile-visual crossmodal association. In the present study, we further hypothesized that the enhancement represented the neural activities in somatosensory and frontal cortices in the crossmodal association. By applying independent component analysis (ICA) to the ERP data, we found independent components (ICs) located in the medial prefrontal cortex (around the anterior cingulate cortex, ACC) and the primary somatosensory cortex (SI). The activity represented by the IC in SI cortex showed enhancement in expectation of the visual stimulus. Such differential activity thus suggested the participation of SI cortex in the task-related crossmodal association. Further, the coherence analysis and the Granger causality spectral analysis of the ICs showed that SI cortex appeared to cooperate with ACC in attention and perception of the tactile stimulus in crossmodal association. The results of our study support with new evidence an important idea in cortical neurophysiology: higher cognitive operations develop from the modality-specific sensory cortices (in the present study, SI cortex) that are involved in sensation and perception of various stimuli.
Project description:Human frontal cortex is commonly described as being insensitive to sensory modality, however several recent studies cast doubt on this view. Our laboratory previously reported two visual-biased attention regions interleaved with two auditory-biased attention regions, bilaterally, within lateral frontal cortex. These regions selectively formed functional networks with posterior visual-biased and auditory-biased attention regions. Here, we conducted a series of functional connectivity analyses to validate and expand this analysis to 469 subjects from the Human Connectome Project (HCP). Functional connectivity analyses replicated the original findings and revealed a novel hemispheric connectivity bias. We also subdivided lateral frontal cortex into 21 thin-slice ROIs and observed bilateral patterns of spatially alternating visual-biased and auditory-biased attention network connectivity. Finally, we performed a correlation difference analysis that revealed five additional bilateral lateral frontal regions differentially connected to either the visual-biased or auditory-biased attention networks. These findings leverage the HCP dataset to demonstrate that sensory-biased attention networks may have widespread influence in lateral frontal cortical organization.
Project description:Successful lip-reading requires a mapping from visual to phonological information . Recently, visual and motor cortices have been implicated in tracking lip movements (e.g., ). It remains unclear, however, whether visuo-phonological mapping occurs already at the level of the visual cortex-that is, whether this structure tracks the acoustic signal in a functionally relevant manner. To elucidate this, we investigated how the cortex tracks (i.e., entrains to) absent acoustic speech signals carried by silent lip movements. Crucially, we contrasted the entrainment to unheard forward (intelligible) and backward (unintelligible) acoustic speech. We observed that the visual cortex exhibited stronger entrainment to the unheard forward acoustic speech envelope compared to the unheard backward acoustic speech envelope. Supporting the notion of a visuo-phonological mapping process, this forward-backward difference of occipital entrainment was not present for actually observed lip movements. Importantly, the respective occipital region received more top-down input, especially from left premotor, primary motor, and somatosensory regions and, to a lesser extent, also from posterior temporal cortex. Strikingly, across participants, the extent of top-down modulation of the visual cortex stemming from these regions partially correlated with the strength of entrainment to absent acoustic forward speech envelope, but not to present forward lip movements. Our findings demonstrate that a distributed cortical network, including key dorsal stream auditory regions [3-5], influences how the visual cortex shows sensitivity to the intelligibility of speech while tracking silent lip movements.
Project description:We explore the relationships between the cortex functional organization and genetic expression (as provided by the Allen Human Brain Atlas). Previous work suggests that functional cortical networks (resting state and task based) are organized as two large networks (differentiated by their preferred information processing mode) shaped like two rings. The first ring--Visual-Sensorimotor-Auditory (VSA)--comprises visual, auditory, somatosensory, and motor cortices that process real time world interactions. The second ring--Parieto-Temporo-Frontal (PTF)--comprises parietal, temporal, and frontal regions with networks dedicated to cognitive functions, emotions, biological needs, and internally driven rhythms. We found--with correspondence analysis--that the patterns of expression of the 938 genes most differentially expressed across the cortex organized the cortex into two sets of regions that match the two rings. We confirmed this result using discriminant correspondence analysis by showing that the genetic profiles of cortical regions can reliably predict to what ring these regions belong. We found that several of the proteins--coded by genes that most differentiate the rings--were involved in neuronal information processing such as ionic channels and neurotransmitter release. The systematic study of families of genes revealed specific proteins within families preferentially expressed in each ring. The results showed strong congruence between the preferential expression of subsets of genes, temporal properties of the proteins they code, and the preferred processing modes of the rings. Ionic channels and release-related proteins more expressed in the VSA ring favor temporal precision of fast evoked neural transmission (Sodium channels SCNA1, SCNB1 potassium channel KCNA1, calcium channel CACNA2D2, Synaptotagmin SYT2, Complexin CPLX1, Synaptobrevin VAMP1). Conversely, genes expressed in the PTF ring favor slower, sustained, or rhythmic activation (Sodium channels SCNA3, SCNB3, SCN9A potassium channels KCNF1, KCNG1) and facilitate spontaneous transmitter release (calcium channel CACNA1H, Synaptotagmins SYT5, Complexin CPLX3, and synaptobrevin VAMP2).
Project description:How does the developing brain respond to recent experience? Repetition suppression (RS) is a robust and well-characterized response of to recent experience found, predominantly, in the perceptual cortices of the adult brain. We use functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to investigate how perceptual (temporal and occipital) and frontal cortices in the infant brain respond to auditory and visual stimulus repetitions (spoken words and faces). In Experiment 1, we find strong evidence of repetition suppression in the frontal cortex but only for auditory stimuli. In perceptual cortices, we find only suggestive evidence of auditory RS in the temporal cortex and no evidence of visual RS in any ROI. In Experiments 2 and 3, we replicate and extend these findings. Overall, we provide the first evidence that infant and adult brains respond differently to stimulus repetition. We suggest that the frontal lobe may support the development of RS in perceptual cortices.