Task division within the prefrontal cortex: Distinct neuron populations selectively control different aspects of aggressive behavior via the hypothalamus

Laszlo Biro, Eszter Sipos, Biborka Bruzsik, Imre Farkas, Dora Zelena, Diana Balazsfi, Mate Toth, Jozsef Haller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

An important question in behavioral neurobiology is how particular neuron populations and pathways mediate the overall roles of brain structures. Here we investigated this issue by studying the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), an established locus of inhibitory control of aggression. We established in male rats that dominantly distinct mPFC neuron populations project to and produce dense fiber networks with glutamate release sites in the mediobasal hypothalamus (MBH) and lateral hypothalamus (LH; i.e., two executory centers of species-specific and violent bites, respectively). Optogenetic stimulation of mPFC terminals in MBH distinctively increased bite counts in resident/intruder conflicts, whereas the stimulation of similar terminals in LH specifically resulted in violent bites. No other behaviors were affected by stimulations. These findings show that the mPFC controls aggressiveness by behaviorally dedicated neuron populations and pathways, the roles of which may be opposite to those observed in experiments where the role of the whole mPFC (or of its major parts) has been investigated. Overall, our findings suggest that the mPFC organizes into working units that fulfill specific aspects of its wide-ranging roles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4065-4075
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume38
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 25 2018

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Hypothalamus
  • Optogenetics
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Rats
  • Social behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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