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The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DL-PFC or DLPFC) is the last area (45th) to develop (myelinate) in the human cerebrum. A more restricted definition of this area describes it as roughly equivalent to Brodmann's areas 9 and 46,[1] according to a broader definition DL-PFC consists of the lateral portions of Brodmann’s areas 9 – 12, of areas 45, 46, and the superior part of area 47.[2] These regions mainly receive their blood supply from the middle cerebral artery. With respect to neurotransmitter systems, there is evidence that dopamine plays a particularly important role in DL-PFC.[2]
DL-PFC is connected to the orbitofrontal cortex, and to a variety of brain areas, which include the thalamus, parts of the basal ganglia (the dorsal caudate nucleus), the hippocampus, and primary and secondary association areas of neocortex, including posterior temporal, parietal, and occipital areas.[2]


DL-PFC serves as the highest cortical area responsible for motor planning, organization, and regulation. It plays an important role in the integration of sensory and mnemonic information and the regulation of intellectual function and action. It is also involved in working memory. However, DL-PFC is not exclusively responsible for the executive functions. All complex mental activity require the additional cortical and subcortical circuits that DL-PFC is connected with.[2][3]

The stroke syndrome which results from damage to the DLPFC is called "disexecutive syndrome". Functional studies demonstrate both executive function as well as Working Memory.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Information from one of the sources mentioned below
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Philip David Zelazo and Ulrich Muller: Executive function in typical and atypical development, in: Usha Goswam (ed): Blackwell Handbook of Child Cognitive Development, 2002
  3. Hale & Fiorello: School neuropsychology, 2004


  1. Robertson, E.M. and Tormos, J.M. and Maeda, F. and Pascual-Leone, A. (2001) The Role of the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex during Sequence Learning is Specific for Spatial Information, Cerebral Cortex 11(7):pp. 628-635.
  2. Emmanuel Procyk and Patricia S Goldman-Rakic: Modulation of Dorsolateral Prefrontal Delay Activity during Self-Organized Behavior, J. Neurosci. 2006 26: 11313-11323.
  3. Pribram KH, Mishkin M, Rosvold HE, Kaplan SJ (1952): Effects of delayed-response performance of lesions of dorsolateral and ventromedial frontal cortex of baboons. J Comp Physiol Psychol 45: 565–575.

See also

Mesocortical pathway
Cognitive control
Working memory
Attention versus memory in prefrontal cortex
Neural mechanisms behind shifts of attention
Wisconsin card sort