Efferent connections of the prelimbic (area 32) and the infralimbic (area 25) cortices: an anterograde tracing study in the cat

J Comp Neurol. 1985 Dec 1;242(1):40-55. doi: 10.1002/cne.902420104.


The projections from the caudal part of the medial frontal cortex, encompassing the prelimbic area (PL) and the infralimbic area (IL) (Brodmann's areas 32 and 25, respectively), were studied in the cat with the anterograde autoradiographic tracing technique. The results indicate that the projection fields of IL, in contrast to those of PL, are restricted almost exclusively to limbic structures. Whereas the major thalamic projections from PL reach the mediodorsal, anteromedial, and ventromedial nuclei, the medial part of the lateral posterior nucleus, and the parataenial and reticular nuclei, and weak projections from this area are directed to the nucleus reuniens and other midline nuclei, the nucleus reuniens is the major thalamic termination field of fibers arising from IL. Cortical areas that are reached by fibers originating in PL and, to a lesser degree, also in IL, include more rostral prefrontal areas (areas 8, 6, and 12), the agranular insular, and the rostral perirhinal cortices. In contrast, cortical areas that are more strongly related to IL include the cingulate, retrosplenial, caudal entorhinal, and perirhinal cortices and the subiculum of the hippocampal formation. Another prominent output of PL concerns projections to an extensive medial part of the caudate nucleus and the ventral striatum, whereas fibers from IL only distribute most ventrally in the striatum. In the amygdaloid complex, fibers from PL were found to reach the basolateral, basomedial, and central nuclei, and fibers from IL to distribute to the medial and central nuclei. PL furthermore projects to the claustrum and the endopiriform nucleus. Other structures in the basal forebrain, including the medial septum, the nuclei of the diagonal band, the preoptic area, and the lateral and dorsal hypothalamus are densely innervated by IL and only sparsely by PL. With respect to more caudal parts of the brainstem, projections from PL and IL appeared to be essentially similar. They reach the ventral tegmental area, the periaqueductal gray, the parabrachial nucleus, and in cases of PL injections were followed as far caudally as the pons.

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / anatomy & histology
  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cats
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Corpus Striatum / anatomy & histology
  • Efferent Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Female
  • Leucine
  • Limbic System / anatomy & histology*
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*


  • Leucine