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The Prefrontal CortexExecutive and Cognitive Functions$
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A. C. Roberts, T. W. Robbins, and L. Weiskrantz

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198524410

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524410.001.0001

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Evidence for the importance of dopamine for prefrontal cortex functions early in life

Evidence for the importance of dopamine for prefrontal cortex functions early in life

Chapter:
(p.144) 11 Evidence for the importance of dopamine for prefrontal cortex functions early in life
Source:
The Prefrontal Cortex
Author(s):

Adele Diamond

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524410.003.0011

This chapter describes the studies conducted with children treated for phenylketonuria (PKU) and discusses its core problem, and that is the inability to convert the amino acid phenylalanine (Phe) into tyrosine (Tyr). This leads to an increased level of Phe and a decreased level of Tyr in the bloodstream, resulting into severe mental retardation. It explains the dopamine system in the prefrontal cortex highlighting the mechanism by which the moderate Phe:Tyr imbalance in the bloodstream of children treated for PKU selectively affect prefrontal cortex. The chapter suggests that the moderate Phe:Tyr imbalance in the bloodstream of children treated for PKU might result in deficits in the cognitive abilities dependent upon prefrontal cortex because of the effect of the Phe:Tyr imbalance on prefrontal dopamine levels.

Keywords:   phenylketonuria, phenylalanine, tyrosine, dopamine, cortex

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