Dissociable contributions of the prefrontal cortex to hippocampus- and caudate nucleus-dependent virtual navigation strategies.

TitleDissociable contributions of the prefrontal cortex to hippocampus- and caudate nucleus-dependent virtual navigation strategies.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsDahmani L, Bohbot VD
JournalNeurobiol Learn Mem
Volume117
Pagination42-50
Date Published2015 Jan
ISSN1095-9564
KeywordsAdolescent, Adult, Brain Mapping, Caudate Nucleus, Female, Hippocampus, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Nerve Net, Prefrontal Cortex, Psychomotor Performance, Spatial Memory, Spatial Navigation, User-Computer Interface, Young Adult
Abstract

The hippocampus and the caudate nucleus are critical to spatial- and stimulus-response-based navigation strategies, respectively. The hippocampus and caudate nucleus are also known to be anatomically connected to various areas of the prefrontal cortex. However, little is known about the involvement of the prefrontal cortex in these processes. In the current study, we sought to identify the prefrontal areas involved in spatial and response learning. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and voxel-based morphometry to compare the neural activity and grey matter density of spatial and response strategy users. Twenty-three healthy young adults were scanned in a 1.5 T MRI scanner while they engaged in the Concurrent Spatial Discrimination Learning Task, a virtual navigation task in which either a spatial or response strategy can be used. In addition to increased BOLD activity in the hippocampus, spatial strategy users showed increased BOLD activity and grey matter density in the ventral area of the medial prefrontal cortex, especially in the orbitofrontal cortex. On the other hand, response strategy users exhibited increased BOLD activity and grey matter density in the dorsal area of the medial prefrontal cortex. Given the prefrontal cortex's role in reward-guided decision-making, we discuss the possibility that the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, including the orbitofrontal cortex, supports spatial learning by encoding stimulus-reward associations, while the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex supports response learning by encoding action-reward associations.

DOI10.1016/j.nlm.2014.07.002
Alternate JournalNeurobiol Learn Mem
PubMed ID25038426

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