The role of the cingulate cortex as neural generator of the N200 and P300 in a tactile response inhibition task

Research Area: Research Year: 2010
Type of Publication: Article Keywords: inhibition; nogo; N200; P300; anterior cingulated; source analysis; ACC; generator; EEG; stop
Authors: Huster, R. J.; Westerhausen, Rene; Pantev, C.; Konrad, C.
Both the N200 and P300, which are, for example, evoked by Go/Nogo or Stop-Signal tasks, have long been interpreted as indicators for inhibition processes. Such interpretations have recently been challenged, and interest in the exact neural generators of these brain responses is continuously growing. Using recent methodological advancements, source estimations for the N200 and P300 as evoked by a tactile response inhibition task were computed. Current density reconstructions were also calculated accounting for interindividual differences in head geometry by incorporating information from T1-weighted magnetic resonance images. To ease comparability with relevant paradigms, the task was designed to mimic important characteristics of both Go/Nogo and Stop-Signal tasks as prototypes for a larger set of paradigms probing response inhibition. A network of neural generators was revealed, which has previously been shown to act in concert with executive control processes and thus is in full agreement with observations from other modalities. Importantly, a spatial segregation of midcingulate sources was observed. Our experimental data indicate that a left anterior region of the midcingulate cortex (MCC) is a major neural generator of the N200, whereas the midcingulate generator of the P300 is located in the right posterior MCC. Analyses of the P300 also revealed several areas, which have previously been associated with motor functions, for example, the precentral region. Our data clearly suggest a neuroanatomical and therefore also functional dissociation of the N200 and P300, a finding that cannot easily be provided by other imaging techniques.
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