Heterotopic Cortical Afferents to the Medial Prefrontal Cortex in the Rat. A Combined Retrograde and Anterograde Tracer Study

Eur J Neurosci. 1992 Oct;4(1):77-97. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.1992.tb00111.x.


Cortical afferent projections towards the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) were investigated with retrograde and anterograde tracer techniques. Heterotopical afferent projections to the medial prefrontal cortex arise in secondary, or higher order, sensory areas, motor areas and paralimbic cortices. On the basis of these projections three subfields can be discriminated within the mPFC. (1) The ventromedial part of mPFC, comprising the pre- and infralimbic areas, receives mainly projections from the perirhinal cortex. (2) The caudal two-thirds of the dorsomedial PFC, comprising frontal area 2 and the dorsal anterior cingulate area, receives projections from the secondary visual areas, the posterior agranular insular area and the retrosplenial areas. (3) The rostral one-third of the dorsomedial PFC is the main recipient of projections from the somatosensory and motor areas and the posterior agranular insular area. The laminar distribution of cells projecting to the mPFC varies considerably in the different cortical areas, just as the laminar distribution of termination of their fibres within the mPFC does. It is concluded that the corticocortical connections corroborate with subcortical connectivity in attributing to the mediodorsal projection cortex of the rat functions which are comparable to those of certain prefrontal, premotor and anterior cingulate areas in the monkey.