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Radtke-Schuller, Susanne; Town, Stephen M.; Yin, Pingbo; Elgueda, Diego; Schuller, Gerd; Bizley, Jennifer K.; Shamma, Shihab A. and Fritz, Jonathan B. (2020): Dorsal prefrontal and premotor cortex of the ferret as defined by distinctive patterns of thalamo-cortical projections. In: Brain Structure & Function, Vol. 225, No. 5: pp. 1643-1667

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Recent studies of the neurobiology of the dorsal frontal cortex (FC) of the ferret have illuminated its key role in the attention network, top-down cognitive control of sensory processing, and goal directed behavior. To elucidate the neuroanatomical regions of the dorsal FC, and delineate the boundary between premotor cortex (PMC) and dorsal prefrontal cortex (dPFC), we placed retrograde tracers in adult ferret dorsal FC anterior to primary motor cortex and analyzed thalamo-cortical connectivity. Cyto- and myeloarchitectural differences across dorsal FC and the distinctive projection patterns from thalamic nuclei, especially from the subnuclei of the medial dorsal (MD) nucleus and the ventral thalamic nuclear group, make it possible to clearly differentiate three separate dorsal FC fields anterior to primary motor cortex: polar dPFC (dPFCpol), dPFC, and PMC. Based on the thalamic connectivity, there is a striking similarity of the ferret's dorsal FC fields with other species. This possible homology opens up new questions for future comparative neuroanatomical and functional studies.

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