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Prefrontal neurons encode context-based response execution and inhibition in reward seeking and extinction
- Moorman, David E., Aston-Jones, Gary
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2015 v.112 no.30 pp. 9472-9477
- cortex, extinction, neurons, perfluorocarbons, rats
- The prefrontal cortex (PFC) regulates multiple aspects of behavior. One hypothesis proposes that PFC segregates different functions into specific subregions: dorsal medial PFC [mPFC; prelimbic (PL)] regulates execution of behavior, or “going,” whereas ventral mPFC [infralimbic (IL)] regulates inhibition of behavior, or “stopping.” We demonstrate that neither PL nor IL neurons exhibited signals specifically tied to going or stopping, either during reward seeking or extinction sessions when rats stopped seeking reward. Instead, neurons better represented the outcome based context, firing more strongly for going during reward seeking and for stopping during extinction. The use of contextual information to guide responding is important for maximizing benefits vs. costs and may be a major role of the PFC in optimizing behavior.