Nonmonotonic spatial structure of interneuronal correlations in prefrontal microcircuits

Shervin Safavi, Abhilash Dwarakanath, Vishal Kapoor, Joachim Werner, Nicholas G. Hatsopoulos, Nikos K. Logothetis, Theofanis I. Panagiotaropoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Correlated fluctuations of single neuron discharges, on a mesoscopic scale, decrease as a function of lateral distance in early sensory cortices, reflecting a rapid spatial decay of lateral connection probability and excitation. However, spatial periodicities in horizontal connectivity and associational input as well as an enhanced probability of lateral excitatory connections in the association cortex could theoretically result in nonmonotonic correlation structures. Here, we show such a spatially nonmonotonic correlation structure, characterized by significantly positive long-range correlations, in the inferior convexity of the macaque prefrontal cortex. This functional connectivity kernel was more pronounced during wakefulness than anesthesia and could be largely attributed to the spatial pattern of correlated variability between functionally similar neurons during structured visual stimulation. These results suggest that the spatial decay of lateral functional connectivity is not a common organizational principle of neocortical microcircuits. A nonmonotonic correlation structure could reflect a critical topological feature of prefrontal microcircuits, facilitating their role in integrative processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E3539-E3548
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number15
Early online date27 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2018


  • Functional connectivity
  • Long-range interactions
  • Network structure
  • Noise correlations
  • Prefrontal cortex


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