Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is located between the superior frontal gyrus and the inferior frontal gyrus of the frontal lobe, covering the middle central gyrus and straddling the anterior halves of the superior frontal sulcus and the inferior frontal sulcus. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is the last area to develop (myelinate) in the human cerebrum. This area mainly receives its blood supply from the middle cerebral artery. With respect to neurotransmitter systems, there is evidence that dopamine plays a particularly important role in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is connected to the orbitofrontal cortex, and to a variety of brain areas, which include the thalamus, parts of the basal ganglia, the hippocampus, and primary and secondary association areas of neocortex, including posterior temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes.

The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex plays an important role in the integration of sensory and mnemonic information and the regulation of intellectual function and action. It is the highest cortical area responsible for organization, motor planning, and regulation. It is also involved in working memory. Nevertheless, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is not exclusively responsible for the executive functions. The complex human mental activity require the additional cortical and subcortical circuits that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is connected with.