Research ArticleNEUROSCIENCE

Dynamic coding of predatory information between the prelimbic cortex and lateral amygdala in foraging rats

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  18 Apr 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 4, eaar7328
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar7328

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text


Predation is considered a major selective pressure in the evolution of fear, but the neurophysiology of predator-induced fear is unknown. We simultaneously recorded lateral amygdala (LA) and prelimbic (PL) area neuronal activities as rats exited a safe nest to search for food in an open space before, during, and after encountering a “predator” robot programmed to surge from afar. Distinct populations of LA neurons transiently increased spiking as rats either advanced or fled the robot, whereas PL neurons showed longer-lasting spike trains that preceded and persisted beyond LA activity. Moreover, discrete LA-PL cell pairs displayed correlated firings only when the animals either approached or fled the robot. These results suggest a general fear function of the LA-PL circuit where the PL participates in the initial detection of potential threats, the LA signals the occurrence of real threats, and the dynamic LA-PL interaction optimizes defensive readiness for action.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text