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Brain Res. 2001 Oct 26;917(1):81-9.

Differences in the laminar origin of projections from the medial prefrontal cortex to the nucleus accumbens shell and core regions in the rat.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Oxford, Mansfield Rd, Oxford OX1 3QT, UK.


The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) projects to the nucleus accumbens shell, core and rostral pole. In this retrograde tract-tracing study of rat mPFC to nucleus accumbens projection neurons, the advantages of Neurobiotin are utilised in order to reveal the detailed morphology of labelled projection cells, and to permit an examination of the laminar projections to shell and core compartments The retrogradely transported Neurobiotin was found in somata, proximal and distal dendrites of neurons that project from the mPFC to the nucleus accumbens. The morphology of these projection neurons was revealed in great detail and confirmed that the projection arises wholly from pyramidal cells. Interestingly, it was also found that retrogradely labelled neurons were exclusively located in prelimbic and infralimbic regions in layers V and VI, after shell injections, but also in layer II following core sites. This observation may reflect possibly different roles for cortical laminae on the nucleus accumbens.

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