Cell-Type-Specific Activity in Prefrontal Cortex during Goal-Directed Behavior

Lucas Pinto, Yang Dan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


The prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays a key role in controlling goal-directed behavior. Although a variety of task-related signals have been observed in the PFC, whether they are differentially encoded by various cell types remains unclear. Here we performed cellular-resolution microendoscopic Ca2+ imaging from genetically defined cell types in the dorsomedial PFC of mice performing a PFC-dependent sensory discrimination task. We found that inhibitory interneurons of the same subtype were similar to each other, but different subtypes preferentially signaled different task-related events: somatostatin-positive neurons primarily signaled motor action (licking), vasoactive intestinal peptide-positive neurons responded strongly to action outcomes, whereas parvalbumin-positive neurons were less selective, responding to sensory cues, motor action, and trial outcomes. Compared to each interneuron subtype, pyramidal neurons showed much greater functional heterogeneity, and their responses varied across cortical layers. Such cell-type and laminar differences in neuronal functional properties may be crucial for local computation within the PFC microcircuit. Cellular-resolution Ca2+ imaging from the mouse PFC during goal-directed behavior reveals sensory, motor, and outcome signals. Interneurons of the same subtype are functionally similar, but different subtypes encode different task-related signals. Excitatory neurons have diverse properties that vary across layers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-450
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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