Amy F. T. Arnsten

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The prefrontal cortex (PFC) — the most evolved brain region — subserves our highest-order cognitive abilities. However, it is also the brain region that is most sensitive to the detrimental effects of stress exposure. Even quite mild acute uncontrollable stress can cause a rapid and dramatic loss of prefrontal cognitive abilities, and more prolonged stress(More)
The prefrontal cortex (PFC) utilizes working memory to guide behavior and to release the organism from dependence on environmental cues and is commonly disrupted in neuropsychiatric disorders, normal aging, or exposure to uncontrollable stress. This review posits that the PFC is very sensitive to changes in the neuromodulatory inputs it receives from(More)
Although previous research has emphasized the beneficial effects of dopamine (DA) on functions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), recent studies of animals exposed to mild stress indicate that excessive DA receptor stimulation may be detrimental to the spatial working memory functions of the PFC (Arnsten and Goldman-Rakic, 1990; Murphy et al., 1994, 1996a,b,(More)
BACKGROUND Low doses of psychostimulants, such as methylphenidate (MPH), are widely used in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Surprisingly little is known about the neural mechanisms that underlie the behavioral/cognitive actions of these drugs. The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is implicated in ADHD. Moreover, dopamine (DA) and(More)
Dopamine (DA) D1 receptor (D1R) stimulation in prefrontal cortex (PFC) produces an 'inverted-U' dose-response, whereby either too little or too much D1R stimulation impairs spatial working memory. This response has been observed across species, including genetic linkages with human cognitive abilities, PFC activation states and DA synthesis. The cellular(More)
Spatial working memory (WM; i.e., "scratchpad" memory) is constantly updated to guide behavior based on representational knowledge of spatial position. It is maintained by spatially tuned, recurrent excitation within networks of prefrontal cortical (PFC) neurons, evident during delay periods in WM tasks. Stimulation of postsynaptic alpha2A adrenoceptors(More)
The symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) involve impairments in prefrontal cortical top-down regulation of attention and behavior. All current pharmacological treatments for ADHD facilitate catecholamine transmission, and basic research suggests that these compounds have prominent actions in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The(More)
The prefrontal cortex guides behaviors, thoughts, and feelings using representational knowledge, i.e., working memory. These fundamental cognitive abilities subserve the so-called executive functions: the ability to inhibit inappropriate behaviors and thoughts, regulate our attention, monitor our actions, and plan and organize for the future.(More)
We review the modulatory effects of the catecholamine neurotransmitters noradrenaline and dopamine on prefrontal cortical function. The effects of pharmacologic manipulations of these systems, sometimes in comparison with the indoleamine serotonin (5-HT), on performance on a variety of tasks that tap working memory, attentional-set formation and shifting,(More)
Neuropsychological and imaging studies have shown that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with alterations in prefrontal cortex (PFC) and its connections to striatum and cerebellum. Research in animals, in combination with observations of patients with cortical lesions, has shown that the PFC is critical for the regulation of(More)