Afferent connections of the medial frontal cortex of the rat. II. Cortical and subcortical afferents

J Comp Neurol. 1995 Feb 20;352(4):567-93. doi: 10.1002/cne.903520407.


In order to compare the frontal cortex of rat and macaque monkey, cortical and subcortical afferents to subdivisions of the medial frontal cortex (MFC) in the rat were analyzed with fluorescent retrograde tracers. In addition to afferent inputs common to the whole MFC, each subdivision of the MFC has a specific pattern of afferent connections. The dorsally situated precentral medial area (PrCm) was the only area to receive inputs from the somatosensory cortex. The specific pattern of afferents common to the ventrally situated prelimbic (PL) and infralimbic (IL) areas included projections from the agranular insular cortex, the entorhinal and piriform cortices, the CA1-CA2 fields of the hippocampus, the subiculum, the endopiriform nucleus, the amygdalopiriform transition, the amygdalohippocampal area, the lateral tegmentum, and the parabrachial nucleus. In all these structures, the number of retrogradely labeled cells was larger when the injection site was located in area IL. The dorsal part of the anterior cingulate area (ACd) seemed to be connectionally intermediate between the adjacent areas PrCm and PL; it receives neither the somatosensory inputs characteristic of area PrCm nor the afferents characteristic of areas PL and IL, with the exception of the afferents from the caudal part of the retrosplenial cortex. A comparison of the pattern of afferent and efferent connections of the rat MFC with the pattern of macaque prefrontal cortex suggests that PrCm and ACd areas share some properties with the macaque premotor cortex, whereas PL and IL areas may have characteristics in common with the cingulate or with medial areas 24, 25, and 32 and with orbital areas 12, 13, and 14 of macaques.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Afferent Pathways / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Efferent Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Efferent Pathways / physiology
  • Entorhinal Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiology
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / anatomy & histology
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar