The ventral hippocampus (vHPC), medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and basolateral amygdala (BLA) are each required for the expression of anxiety-like behavior. Yet the role of each individual element of the circuit is unclear. The projection from the vHPC to the mPFC has been implicated in anxiety-related neural synchrony and spatial representations of aversion. The role of this projection was examined using multi-site neural recordings combined with optogenetic terminal inhibition. Inhibition of vHPC input to the mPFC disrupted anxiety and mPFC representations of aversion, and reduced theta synchrony in a pathway-, frequency- and task-specific manner. Moreover, bilateral, but not unilateral, inhibition altered physiological correlates of anxiety in the BLA, mimicking a safety-like state. These results reveal a specific role for the vHPC-mPFC projection in anxiety-related behavior and the spatial representation of aversive information within the mPFC.
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