Medial prefrontal cortex lesions in mice do not impair effort-based decision making

Neuropharmacology. 2013 Feb;65:223-31. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.10.005. Epub 2012 Oct 22.


The function of the medial prefrontal cortex has previously been determined in the rat to play an important role in effort-based decision making and this, along with functions of other areas, has been assumed largely, to hold true in all rodents. In this study, we attempted to replicate this result in mice and to develop a model for effort-based decision making that could be useful for the study of neurological conditions. Mice were trained on a cost-benefit T-maze paradigm, whereby they chose between a low reward with little effort needed to obtain it or a higher reward, which required increased effort. Following training, the medial prefrontal cortex was lesioned. After surgery, contrary to earlier published rat studies, the performance of the mice did not change. In previous studies, prefrontal cortex lesioned rats chose the low effort/low reward option, but lesioned mice continued to select the high reward/high effort option. However, the other results are in line with previous mouse studies in both the extent of pathology and anxiety-like behaviour. These results illustrate a difference in the functioning of the prefrontal cortex between rats and mice and offer a word of caution on the interpretation of data from studies that employ different species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Female
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Prefrontal Cortex / pathology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Reward*