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Improper activation of D1 and D2 receptors leads to excess noise in prefrontal cortex.


The dopaminergic system has been shown to control the amount of noise in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and likely plays an important role in working memory and the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. We developed a model that takes into account the known receptor distributions of D1 and D2 receptors, the changes these receptors have on neuron response properties, as well as identified circuitry involved in working memory. Our model suggests that D1 receptor under-stimulation in supragranular layers gates internal noise into the PFC leading to cognitive symptoms as has been proposed in attention disorders, while D2 over-stimulation gates noise into the PFC by over-activation of cortico-striatal projecting neurons in infragranular layers. We apply this model in the context of a memory-guided saccade paradigm and show deficits similar to those observed in schizophrenic patients. We also show set-shifting impairments similar to those observed in rodents with D1 and D2 receptor manipulations. We discuss how the introduction of noise through changes in D1 and D2 receptor activation may account for many of the symptoms of schizophrenia depending on where this dysfunction occurs in the PFC.

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