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Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 15, 2004
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Hi guys,
I'm the process of writing up an essay on biology of aggression in children/adolescents. I need two specific bits of information:

- inputs and projections of the medial prefrontal cortex
- inputs and projections of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex

Any help and websites links would be truly appreciated.



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15+ Year Member
Mar 18, 2003
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Check out the following articles. If you PM me your e-mail address, I will send you the .pdf of them. There are also dozens of articles on pubmed. Go to www.pubmed.com and type "prefrontal cortex." My reading of this literature is that there are numerous projections to and from all regions of the prefrontal cortex, and that neurocognitive and regulatory functions subserved by these regions are still being explored. You may want to read some of the literature on neural correlates of impulsivity (e.g., King et al., 2003; see abstract below).

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Jun 11;99(12):8448-53.

Evidence for a dysfunctional prefrontal circuit in patients with an impulsive aggressive disorder.

Best M, Williams JM, Coccaro EF.

Department of Psychology, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. [email protected]

Humans with lesions to the orbital/medial prefrontal cortex and interconnected areas display impulsive aggressive behavior. To examine further the relationship between impulsive aggression and orbital/medial prefrontal dysfunction, we measured the behavioral performance of psychiatric patients with a disorder characterized by impulsive aggression, Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). Presently, no evidence exists for a localized brain lesion in IED subjects. However, on the basis of the location of brain lesions that produce acquired impulsive aggression, we hypothesized that IED subjects would exhibit test performance similar to patients with lesions to the orbital/medial prefrontal cortex. Subjects with IED and controls were administered three tests sensitive to lesions of the orbital/medial prefrontal circuit: the Iowa Gambling Task, facial emotion recognition, and odor identification, and two control tests of working memory. On the gambling task, IED subjects continued to make disadvantageous decisions throughout the 100 trials, whereas controls learned to avoid disadvantageous decisions. On the facial recognition test, IED subjects were impaired at recognizing "anger," "disgust," and "surprise," and they were biased to label neutral faces with "disgust" and "fear." On odor identification, IED subjects were mildly anosmic and were impaired relative to controls. However, on the working memory control tests, both groups performed similarly. Across tests, the performance of IED subjects resembles the performance of patients with orbital/medial prefrontal lesions in previous studies. These results extend the link between dysfunction of the orbital/medial prefrontal circuit and impulsive aggressive behavior.


Annu Rev Neurosci. 2001;24:167-202.

An integrative theory of prefrontal cortex function.

Miller EK, Cohen JD.

Center for Learning and Memory, RIKEN-MIT Neuroscience Research Center and Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA. [email protected]

The prefrontal cortex has long been suspected to play an important role in cognitive control, in the ability to orchestrate thought and action in accordance with internal goals. Its neural basis, however, has remained a mystery. Here, we propose that cognitive control stems from the active maintenance of patterns of activity in the prefrontal cortex that represent goals and the means to achieve them. They provide bias signals to other brain structures whose net effect is to guide the flow of activity along neural pathways that establish the proper mappings between inputs, internal states, and outputs needed to perform a given task. We review neurophysiological, neurobiological, neuroimaging, and computational studies that support this theory and discuss its implications as well as further issues to be addressed.


Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 Dec;1008:160-9.

Neural substrates underlying impulsivity.

King JA, Tenney J, Rossi V, Colamussi L, Burdick S.

Department of Psychiatry, Center for Comparative NeuroImaging, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655, USA. [email protected]

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neuropsychiatric disorder whose three main symptoms are impulsiveness, inattention, and hyperactivity. Although ADHD is an early developmental disorder, it may persist into adulthood, resulting in deficits associated with poor academic performance, frequent job changes, poor and unstable marriages, and increases in motor vehicle accidents. Of the three primary symptoms of ADHD, deficits in impulse control are the most challenging to the social network and the judicial system. While the etiology of ADHD remains unknown, recent work suggests that the central deficits in ADHD may be due to poor response inhibition that is linked to monoamine and prefrontal lobe deficiencies. In the past, preclinical studies designed to understand the lack of impulse control have generally been relegated to studies linked to aggression and drug abuse. With the use of innovative noninvasive techniques, like anatomical and functional magnetic resonance imaging, selective neurochemical and behavioral paradigms have converged with preclinical reports and lend support to the premise that monoaminergic neurotransmitter systems and the cortico-striatal circuitry are essential to impulse control. Furthermore, new emerging data on neural substrates underlying impulsivity have incorporated brain regions involved in reinforcement, reward, and decision making such as the nucleus accumbens, cerebellum, and amygdala. As noninvasive brain imaging, neurochemical, and behavioral approaches are combined, our knowledge of the neural networks underlying impulsivity will hopefully give rise to therapeutic approaches aimed at alleviating this disorder.
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