What is the evidence for inter-laminar integration in a prefrontal cortical minicolumn?

Ioan Opris, Stephano Chang, Brian R. Noga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The objective of this perspective article is to examine columnar inter-laminar integration during the executive control of behavior.The integration hypothesis posits that perceptual and behavioral signals are integrated within the prefrontal cortical inter-laminar microcircuits. Inter-laminar minicolumnar activity previously recorded from the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) of nonhuman primates, trained in a visual delay match-to-sample (DMS) task, was re-assessed from an integrative perspective. Biomorphic multielectrode arrays (MEAs) played a unique role in the in vivo recording of columnar cell firing in the dlPFC layers 2/3 and 5/6. Several integrative aspects stem from these experiments: 1. Functional integration of perceptual and behavioral signals across cortical layers during executive control. The integrative effect of dlPFC minicolumns was shown by: (i) increased correlated firing on correct vs. error trials; (ii) decreased correlated firing when the number of non-matching images increased; and (iii) similar spatial firing preference across cortical-striatal cells during spatial-trials, and less on object-trials. 2. Causal relations to integration of cognitive signals by the minicolumnar turbo-engines. The inter-laminar integration between the perceptual and executive circuits was facilitated by stimulating the infra-granular layers with firing patterns obtained from supra-granular layers that enhanced spatial preference of percent correct performance on spatial trials. 3. Integration across hierarchical levels of the brain. The integration of intention signals (visual spatial, direction) with movement preparation (timing, velocity) in striatum and with the motor command and posture in midbrain is also discussed. These findings provide evidence for inter-laminar integration of executive control signals within brain’s prefrontal cortical microcircuits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116
JournalFrontiers in Neuroanatomy
StatePublished - Dec 14 2017


  • Coordination
  • Cortical layers
  • Cortical minicolumns
  • Executive function
  • Integration
  • Microcircuits
  • Prefrontal cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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