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Nat Neurosci. 2017 Feb;20(2):260-270. doi: 10.1038/nn.4470. Epub 2017 Jan 9.

Prefrontal cortical control of a brainstem social behavior circuit.

Author information

1
Mouse Biology Unit, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Monterotondo, Italy.
2
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.
3
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Francis Crick Avenue, Cambridge, UK.
4
Brain Cognition and Brain Disease Institute, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen, China.
5
Institute of Neuroinformatics, University of Zürich and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland.
6
Schaller Research Group on Neuropeptides, German Cancer Research Center DKFZ, Cell Network Cluster of Excellence, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

Abstract

The prefrontal cortex helps adjust an organism's behavior to its environment. In particular, numerous studies have implicated the prefrontal cortex in the control of social behavior, but the neural circuits that mediate these effects remain unknown. Here we investigated behavioral adaptation to social defeat in mice and uncovered a critical contribution of neural projections from the medial prefrontal cortex to the dorsal periaqueductal gray, a brainstem area vital for defensive responses. Social defeat caused a weakening of functional connectivity between these two areas, and selective inhibition of these projections mimicked the behavioral effects of social defeat. These findings define a specific neural projection by which the prefrontal cortex can control and adapt social behavior.

PMID:
28067904
PMCID:
PMC5580810
DOI:
10.1038/nn.4470
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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