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January 2019 - Hugo Malagon-Vina

Dr. Hugo Malagon-Vina

MedUni Wien RESEARCHER OF THE MONTH January 2019

The prefrontal cortex and adaptive behaviour

The prefrontal cortex functions as an executive area and its neuronal activity is associated with strategy adaptations. Nevertheless, neuronal population dynamics of the prefrontal cortex during multiple strategy-changes are not known. Combining techniques that allowed the recording of multiple neurons at the same time, together with a task that permitted multiple behavioural changes within the same session, my research shows that: first, individual neuronal activity constantly monitors the performance of the rats during the task; second, the concerted neuronal population exhibits a stable firing during one rule, shifting to another neuronal state when a new rule is learnt and third, a new activity-state is formed even when same rules are revisited. Overall, the data indicate that prefrontal neurons represent the changes in strategy, rather than specific rules.

Selected Literature

  1. Szczepanski SM, Knight RT. Insights into Human Behavior from Lesions to the Prefrontal Cortex. Neuron 83:1002–1018. (2014)
  2. Buckley MJ, Mansouri F a, Hoda H, Mahboubi M. Dissociable Components of Rule-Guided Behavior Depend on Distinct Medial and Prefrontal Regions. Science (80- ) 325:52–58. (2009)
  3. Rich EL, Shapiro ML. Rat Prefrontal Cortical Neurons Selectively Code Strategy Switches. J Neurosci 29:7208–7219. (2009)
  4. Durstewitz D, Vittoz NM, Floresco SB, Seamans JK. Abrupt transitions between prefrontal neural ensemble states accompany behavioral transitions during rule learning. Neuron 66:438–448. (2010)
  5. Karlsson MP, Tervo DGR, Karpova AY. Network Resets in Medial Prefrontal Cortex Mark the Onset of Behavioral Uncertainty. Science (80- ) 338:135–139. (2012)
  6. O’Keefe J, Nadel L. The hippocampus as a cognitive map. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (1978)
    Leutgeb S, Leutgeb JK, Barnes CA, Moser EI, McNaughton BL, Moser M-B, Our E, Leutgeb S, Leutgeb JK, Barnes CA, Moser EI, McNaughton BL, Moser M-B. Independent Codes for Spatial and Episodic Memory in Hippocampal Neuronal Ensembles. Science (80- ) 309:619–623. (2005)
  7. Malagon-Vina H, Ciocchi S, Passecker J, Dorffner G, Klausberger T. Fluid network dynamics in the prefrontal cortex during multiple strategy switching. Nat Commun 9:309. (2018)
  8. Lagler M, Ozdemir AT, Lagoun S, Malagon-Vina H, Borhegyi Z, Hauer R, Jelem A, Klausberger T. Divisions of Identified Parvalbumin-Expressing Basket Cells during Working Memory-Guided Decision Making. Neuron 91:1390–1401. (2016)
  9. Ciocchi S, Passecker J, Malagon-Vina H, Mikus N, Klausberger T. Brain computation. Selective information routing by ventral hippocampal CA1 projection neurons. Science 348:560–563. (2015)

Dr. Hugo Malagon-Vina

Department of Cognitive Neurobiology, Center for Brain Research
Medical University of Vienna,

Spitalgasse 4, A-1090, Vienna, Austria

mobile: +43 6764308250

phone: +43 1 40160-34166
fax: +43 1 40160-9-34153