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Frontostriatal circuit

frontostriatal circuitry, frontostriatal circuit
Frontostriatal circuits are neural pathways that connect frontal lobe regions with the basal ganglia striatum that mediate motor, cognitive, and behavioural functions within the brain1 They receive inputs from dopaminergic, serotonergic, noradrenergic, and cholinergic cell groups that modulate information processing2 Frontostriatal circuits are part of the executive functions Executive functions includes following: selection and perception of important information, manipulation of information in working memory, planning and organization, behavioral control, adaptation to changes, and decision making3 These circuits are involved in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease as well as neuropsychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder OCD, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD34


  • 1 Anatomy
  • 2 Function
    • 21 Dorsolateral prefrontal circuit
    • 22 Orbital frontal circuit
    • 23 Anterior cingulate circuit
  • 3 References
  • 4 External links


Simplified diagram of frontal cortex to striatum to thalamus pathways

There are five defined frontostriatal circuits: motor and oculomotor circuits originating in the frontal eye fields are involved in motor functions; while dorsolateral prefrontal, orbital frontal, and anterior cingulate circuits are involved in executive functions, social behavior and motivational states2 These five circuits share same anatomical structures These circuits originate in prefrontal cortex and project to the striatum followed by globus pallidus and substantia nigra and finally to the thalamus2 There are also feedback loops from thalamus back to prefrontal cortex completing the closed loop circuits Also, there are open connections to these circuits integrating information from other areas of the brain2


The role of frontostriatal circuits is not well understood Two of the common theories are action selection and reinforcement learning The action selection hypothesis suggest that frontalcortex generates possible actions and the striatum selects one of these actions by inhibiting the execution of other actions while allowing the selected action execution5 Whereas, the reinforcement learning hypothesis suggest that prediction errors are used to update future reward expectations for selected actions and this guides the selection of actions based on reward expectations6

The ventromedial prefrontal cortex and its connections to ventral striatum and amygdala are important in affective-emotional processing They are responsible for elaboration of the plan of actions responsible for goal-directed behavior7 In the eye movement circuitry, prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex provide the cognitive control of attention and eye movements, while striatum and brainstem initiate the eye movements Reduced recruitment of prefrontal cortex while relatively intact brainstem functions during task performance contributes to deficits in the voluntary control of saccades in individual with autism8

It was found that self-esteem is related to the connectivity of frontostriatal circuits, suggesting that feelings of self-worth may emerge from neural systems which integrate information about the self with positive affect and reward9

Dorsolateral prefrontal circuitedit

This circuit is important in executive functions including complex problem solving, learning new information, planning ahead, recalling remote memories, responding with appropriate behavior, and chronological ordering of events2

Orbital frontal circuitedit

This circuit connects the frontal monitoring systems to the limbic system Dysfunction of this circuit often results in personality change including behavioral disinhibition, emotional lability, aggressive outbursts, poor judgment, and lack of interpersonal sensitivity210

Anterior cingulate circuitedit

This circuit mediates motivated behavior, response selection, error detection, performance and competition monitoring, working memory, and novelty detection11 Dysfunction in this circuits lead to decreased motivation including prominent apathy, indifference to pain, thirst or hunger, lack of spontaneous movements, and verbalization2


  1. ^ Alexander, G E; DeLong, M R; Strick, P L 1 March 1986 "Parallel Organization of Functionally Segregated Circuits Linking Basal Ganglia and Cortex" Annual Review of Neuroscience 9 1: 357–381 doi:101146/annurevne09030186002041 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Tekin, Sibel; Cummings, Jeffrey L August 2002 "Frontal–subcortical neuronal circuits and clinical neuropsychiatry" Journal of Psychosomatic Research 53 2: 647–654 doi:101016/S0022-39990200428-2 
  3. ^ a b Chudasama, Y; Robbins, TW July 2006 "Functions of frontostriatal systems in cognition: Comparative neuropsychopharmacological studies in rats, monkeys and humans" Biological Psychology 73 1: 19–38 doi:101016/jbiopsycho200601005 
  4. ^ Riley, Jeffrey D; Moore, Stephanie; Cramer, Steven C; Lin, Jack J May 2011 "Caudate atrophy and impaired frontostriatal connections are linked to executive dysfunction in temporal lobe epilepsy" Epilepsy & Behavior 21 1: 80–87 doi:101016/jyebeh201103013 
  5. ^ Seo, Moonsang; Lee, Eunjeong; Averbeck, Bruno B 7 June 2012 "Action Selection and Action Value in Frontal-Striatal Circuits" Neuron 74 5: 947–960 PMC 3372873  PMID 22681697 doi:101016/jneuron201203037 
  6. ^ Schonberg, T; Daw, N D; Joel, D; O'Doherty, J P 21 November 2007 "Reinforcement Learning Signals in the Human Striatum Distinguish Learners from Nonlearners during Reward-Based Decision Making" Journal of Neuroscience 27 47: 12860–12867 PMID 18032658 doi:101523/JNEUROSCI2496-072007 
  7. ^ Guimarães, Henrique Cerqueira; Levy, Richard; Teixeira, Antônio Lúcio; Beato, Rogério Gomes; Caramelli, Paulo June 2008 "Neurobiology of apathy in Alzheimer's disease" Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria 66 2b: 436–443 doi:101590/S0004-282X2008000300035 
  8. ^ Takarae, Yukari; Minshew, Nancy J; Luna, Beatriz; Sweeney, John A November 2007 "Atypical involvement of frontostriatal systems during sensorimotor control in autism" Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 156 2: 117–127 doi:101016/jpscychresns200703008 
  9. ^ Chavez, Robert S; Heatherton, Todd F April 28, 2014 "Multimodal frontostriatal connectivity underlies individual differences in self-esteem" Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Oxford University Press Retrieved July 9, 2015 
  10. ^ Bachevalier, Jocelyne; Loveland, Katherine A January 2006 "The orbitofrontal–amygdala circuit and self-regulation of social–emotional behavior in autism" Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 30 1: 97–117 doi:101016/jneubiorev200507002 
  11. ^ Bush, G; Vogt, B A; Holmes, J; Dale, A M; Greve, D; Jenike, M A; Rosen, B R 26 December 2001 "Dorsal anterior cingulate cortex: A role in reward-based decision making" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99 1: 523–528 PMC 117593  PMID 11756669 doi:101073/pnas012470999 

External linksedit

  • http://wwwncbinlmnihgov/books/NBK11154/ Neurosciene - NCBI bookshelf
  • http://wwwfrontiersinorg/Neural_Circuits Frontier specialty journal

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