Involvement of the mediodorsal thalamus in control of consciousness and cognition in the mouse
- Involvement of the mediodorsal thalamus in control of consciousness and cognition in the mouse
- Issue Date
- Toward a Science of Consciousness
- The midline thalamus including the mediodorsal nucleus (MD) is thought to provide the necessary arousal of cortical and subcortical regions for awareness of incoming informatio. MD in fact is involved in interaction between the level of arousal and performance of selective attention, attending to only one target of information with excluding the others, and represents the enhancement operator of a prefrontal top-down modulation of the selective attention. MD lesions, also, have induced prefrontal-associated memory impairment in humans and animals, suggesting the important role of MD in cognition. In experiments using the mouse system, we found results showing the critical function of MD in control of arousal. Furthermore, we observed that in the triangular circuit of mPFC, MD, and amygdala, a modulation of MD neuron firing via the mGluR1-PLCβ4 signaling – mimicking the corticothalamic top-down modulation – enhances the level of arousal, resulting in facilitation of cognitive function.
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