The Open UniversitySkip to content

Prefrontal Cortex in the Rat: Projections to Subcortical Autonomic, Motor and Limbic centers

Gabbott, Paul L.A.; Warner, Tracy A.; Jays, Paul R.L.; Salway, Phillip and Busby, Sarah J. (2005). Prefrontal Cortex in the Rat: Projections to Subcortical Autonomic, Motor and Limbic centers. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 492(2) pp. 145–177.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


This paper describes the quantitative areal and laminar distribution of identified neuron populations projecting from areas of prefrontal cortex (PFC) to subcortical autonomic, motor, and limbic sites in the rat. Injections of the retrograde pathway tracer wheat germ agglutinin conjugated with horseradish peroxidase (WGA-HRP) were made into dorsal/ventral striatum (DS/VS), basolateral amygdala (BLA), mediodorsal thalamus (MD), lateral hypothalamus (LH), mediolateral septum, dorsolateral periaqueductal gray, dorsal raphe, ventral tegmental area, parabrachial nucleus, nucleus tractus solitarius, rostral/caudal ventrolateral medulla, or thoracic spinal cord (SC). High-resolution flat-map density distributions of retrogradely labelled neurons indicated that specific PFC regions were differentially involved in the projections studied, with medial (m)PFC divided into dorsal and ventral sectors. The percentages that WGA-HRP retrogradely labelled neurons composed of the projection neurons in individual layers of infralimbic (IL; area 25) prelimbic (PL; area 32), and dorsal anterior cingulate (ACd; area 24b) cortices were calculated. Among layer 5 pyramidal cells, approximately 27.4% in IL/PL/ACd cortices projected to LH, 22.9% in IL/ventral PL to VS, 18.3% in ACd/dorsal PL to DS, and 8.1% in areas IL/PL to BLA; and 37% of layer 6 pyramidal cells in IL/PL/ACd projected to MD. Data for other projection pathways are given. Multiple dual retrograde fluorescent tracing studies indicated that moderate populations (<9%) of layer 5 mPFC neurons projected to LH/VS, LH/SC, or VS/BLA. The data provide new quantitative information concerning the density and distribution of neurons involved in identified projection pathways from defined areas of the rat PFC to specific subcortical targets involved in dynamic goal-directed behavior.

Item Type: Journal Item
ISSN: 1550-7130
Keywords: cognition; visceral information; pyramidal cells; descending pathways; subcortical targets; centre
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Life, Health and Chemical Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 3527
Depositing User: Paul Gabbott
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2006
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 08:54
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU