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J Comp Neurol. 2013 Dec 15;521(18):4260-83. doi: 10.1002/cne.23413.

Parallel prefrontal pathways reach distinct excitatory and inhibitory systems in memory-related rhinal cortices.

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Neural Systems Lab, Department of Health Sciences, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, 02215.


To investigate how prefrontal cortices impinge on medial temporal cortices we labeled pathways from the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and posterior orbitofrontal cortex (pOFC) in rhesus monkeys to compare their relationship with excitatory and inhibitory systems in rhinal cortices. The ACC pathway terminated mostly in areas 28 and 35 with a high proportion of large terminals, whereas the pOFC pathway terminated mostly through small terminals in area 36 and sparsely in areas 28 and 35. Both pathways terminated in all layers. Simultaneous labeling of pathways and distinct neurochemical classes of inhibitory neurons, followed by analyses of appositions of presynaptic and postsynaptic fluorescent signal, or synapses, showed overall predominant association with spines of putative excitatory neurons, but also significant interactions with presumed inhibitory neurons labeled for calretinin, calbindin, or parvalbumin. In the upper layers of areas 28 and 35 the ACC pathway was associated with dendrites of neurons labeled with calretinin, which are thought to disinhibit neighboring excitatory neurons, suggesting facilitated hippocampal access. In contrast, in area 36 pOFC axons were associated with dendrites of calbindin neurons, which are poised to reduce noise and enhance signal. In the deep layers, both pathways innervated mostly dendrites of parvalbumin neurons, which strongly inhibit neighboring excitatory neurons, suggesting gating of hippocampal output to other cortices. These findings suggest that the ACC, associated with attention and context, and the pOFC, associated with emotional valuation, have distinct contributions to memory in rhinal cortices, in processes that are disrupted in psychiatric diseases.


anterior cingulate cortex; attention; emotion; inhibitory neurons; posterior orbitofrontal cortex; rhesus monkey

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