Excitatory connections between the prelimbic and infralimbic medial prefrontal cortex show a role for the prelimbic cortex in fear extinction

Nat Neurosci. 2018 May;21(5):654-658. doi: 10.1038/s41593-018-0137-x. Epub 2018 Apr 23.


We elucidated the intrinsic circuitry of the medial prefrontal cortex and its role in regulating fear extinction, using neuronal tracing and optogenetic stimulation in vitro and in vivo. We show that pyramidal neurons in layer 5/6 of the prelimbic medial prefrontal cortex project to pyramidal cells in layer 5/6 of the infralimbic cortex. Activation of this connection enhances fear extinction, redefining the role of the prelimbic cortex in extinction learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Extinction, Psychological / physiology*
  • Fear / physiology*
  • Female
  • Learning / physiology
  • Limbic System / cytology
  • Limbic System / physiology*
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Optogenetics
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Prefrontal Cortex / cytology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Rats, Wistar