Prelimbic and infralimbic cortical inactivations attenuate contextually driven discriminative responding for reward

Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 8;9(1):3982. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-40532-7.


The infralimbic (IL) and prelimbic (PL) cortices of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) have been shown to differentially control context-dependent behavior, with the PL implicated in the expression of contextually conditioned fear and drug-seeking, and the IL in the suppression of these behaviors. However, the roles of these subregions in contextually driven natural reward-seeking remain relatively underexplored. The present study further examined the functional dichotomy within the mPFC in the contextual control over cued reward-seeking, using a contextual biconditional discrimination (CBD) task. Rats were first trained to emit a nose poke response to the presentation of an auditory stimulus (e.g., X) for the delivery of sucrose reward, and to withhold a nose poke response to the presentation of another auditory stimulus (e.g., Y) in a context-specific manner (e.g. Context A: X+, Y-; Context B: X-, Y+). Following acquisition, rats received bilateral microinjections of GABA receptor agonists (muscimol and baclofen), or saline into the IL or PL, prior to a CBD training session and a probe test (under extinction conditions). Both IL and PL inactivation resulted in robust impairment in CBD performance, indicating that both subregions are involved in the processing of appetitively motivated contextual memories in reward-seeking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Baclofen / pharmacology
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology
  • Drug-Seeking Behavior / drug effects
  • Drug-Seeking Behavior / physiology*
  • Extinction, Psychological / drug effects
  • Extinction, Psychological / physiology
  • GABA Agonists / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscimol / pharmacology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / drug effects
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Reward


  • GABA Agonists
  • Muscimol
  • Baclofen