Chinese researchers have reconstructed the whole-brain projection atlas of 6,357 single neurons in the prefrontal cortex of a mouse brain and established the world's largest database for mouse single-neuron projectome.
This study has not only laid the structural foundation for in-depth studies into the neural mechanisms of advanced cognitive functions, but also facilitated further studies of whole-brain mesoscopic connectome.
The researchers have found that there are 64 subtypes of projection neurons in the prefrontal cortex of mice which provide important clues to understanding how the prefrontal cortex works in high-level cognitive functions.
The study also revealed a set of rules of internal connections and external projections of the prefrontal cortex, and proposed a possible working model of the prefrontal cortex.
A paper about the research was published online as a cover story in Nature Neuroscience.
"This research provides an accurate navigation map for the in-depth analysis of brain functions and future development of the treatment for mental disorders in human, and provides an important reference for the design of new brain-like artificial intelligence systems," said Yan Jun, the corresponding author of the paper and a researcher from the Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The research was a joint collaboration between scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligent Technology, the State Key Laboratory of Neuroscience, the Shanghai Center for Brain Science and Brain-inspired Technology, the Suzhou Institute of Brain Spatial Information of the Huazhong University of Science and Technology, and the Wuhan Optoelectronics National Research Center.