Collateralization of the amygdaloid projections of the rat prelimbic and infralimbic cortices

J Comp Neurol. 1989 Jan 8;279(2):235-48. doi: 10.1002/cne.902790207.


Previous studies indicate that the distribution of corticoamygdaloid neurons in the rat prelimbic (PL) and infralimbic (IL) cortices overlaps with the distribution of neurons projecting to the contralateral medial prefrontal cortex (MPC), insular cortex, mediodorsal thalamus, and dorsal medulla. In view of the poorly differentiated cytoarchitecture of PL and IL, and their designation as cortical regions transitional between the allocortex and isocortex, the present study sought to determine whether several cortical and subcortical projections from these areas arise as collaterals of corticoamygdaloid neurons. Injections of the fluorescent dyes Fast Blue (FB) or bisbenzimide (BB) were made into the amygdaloid complex and the following areas: agranular and granular insular cortices; mediodorsal thalamic nucleus (MD); nucleus tractus solitarii/dorsal medulla (NTS); contralateral amygdaloid complex; and ipsilateral and contralateral MPC. Neurons projecting to the ipsilateral amygdaloid complex were located mainly in layers II and V with fewer cells in layer III. Concomitant injections into the insular cortex, MD, and NTS labeled populations of neurons arranged in laminae that partially overlapped with, but were essentially separate from, corticoamygdaloid neurons. Projections to the insular cortex arose from layers II and V; those to MD arose from layers V and VI. Corticobulbar projections from IL originated from neurons arranged in a thin lamina in the deep part of layer V. Very few neurons projecting to both the amygdaloid complex and any of these areas were observed. Bilateral injections of FB and BB into the amygdaloid complex producted very few double-labeled cells in PL and IL. Further, in layer V, ipsilaterally projecting corticoamygdaloid neurons tended to be located more deeply than contralaterally projecting neurons. Combined injections of BB and FB into the amygdaloid complex and the contralateral (but not ipsilateral) MPC resulted in significant numbers of double-labeled neurons in layers II, III, and V of PL and IL. Control injections of fluorescent dyes into the cerebrospinal fluid labeled few neurons in the superficial layers of PL and IL and a combined injection into the amygdaloid complex (FB) and subarachnoid space (BB) resulted in a very small number of double-labeled cells in layer II only. The results suggest that a significant proportion of neurons in PL and IL projecting to the amygdaloid complex issue collaterals innervating the contralateral MPC. Evidence is discussed that suggests that the interhemispheric collaterals of MPC corticoamygdaloid neurons may serve to correlate the amygdaloid outputs of the MPC bilaterally.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / anatomy & histology*
  • Amygdala / cytology
  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Male
  • Medulla Oblongata / anatomy & histology
  • Medulla Oblongata / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Thalamus / anatomy & histology
  • Thalamus / cytology


  • Fluorescent Dyes