Dopaminergic Modulation of Prefrontal Cortex Network Dynamics

  • Daniel Durstewitz

Our knowledge about how the neocortex fulfils its diverse computational duties is at present very rudimentary. As knowledge about biochemical, physiological, and anatomical processes and structures accumulates, we seem to be even more and more puzzled by the unveiling layers of mind-blowing complexity and dense networks of interaction between so many biophysical and biochemical variables. It seems clear that a full understanding of nervous system function cannot be gained solely by dissection of physiological processes into simple cause-effect chains, as these are blurred and lost within the multitude of highly non-linear reciprocal interactions and feedback loops governing the dynamics of the whole nervous system, yielding often completely counter-intuitive results. Although simple cause-effect chains are the building blocks of higher order dynamics and an in depth understanding of them therefore remains important, additional approaches are required that put these building blocks back together again, and study the emergent dynamics of the whole system with its implications for computation and cognition. Computational Neuroscience tries to provide some of these tools, and the present article will give an account of the dopaminergic modulation of prefrontal cortex (PFC) from this perspective.


Prefrontal Cortex Firing Rate Pyramidal Cell Average Firing Rate Delay Response Task 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Durstewitz
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of PlymouthDrake CircusUK

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