Prefrontal-Periaqueductal Gray-Projecting Neurons Mediate Context Fear Discrimination

Robert R. Rozeske, Daniel Jercog, Nikolaos Karalis, Fabrice Chaudun, Suzana Khoder, Delphine Girard, Nânci Winke, Cyril Herry
Neuron. 2018-02-01; 97(4): 898-910.e6
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.12.044

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1. Neuron. 2018 Feb 21;97(4):898-910.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.12.044. Epub
2018 Feb 3.

Prefrontal-Periaqueductal Gray-Projecting Neurons Mediate Context Fear
Discrimination.

Rozeske RR(1), Jercog D(1), Karalis N(2), Chaudun F(1), Khoder S(1), Girard D(1),
Winke N(1), Herry C(3).

Author information:
(1)INSERM, Neurocentre Magendie, U1215, 146 Rue Léo-Saignat, 33077 Bordeaux,
France; Université de Bordeaux, Neurocentre Magendie, U1215, 146 Rue Léo-Saignat,
33077 Bordeaux, France.
(2)INSERM, Neurocentre Magendie, U1215, 146 Rue Léo-Saignat, 33077 Bordeaux,
France; Université de Bordeaux, Neurocentre Magendie, U1215, 146 Rue Léo-Saignat,
33077 Bordeaux, France; Faculty of Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität
München, 82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany.
(3)INSERM, Neurocentre Magendie, U1215, 146 Rue Léo-Saignat, 33077 Bordeaux,
France; Université de Bordeaux, Neurocentre Magendie, U1215, 146 Rue Léo-Saignat,
33077 Bordeaux, France. Electronic address: .

Survival critically depends on selecting appropriate defensive or exploratory
behaviors and is strongly influenced by the surrounding environment. Contextual
discrimination is a fundamental process that is thought to depend on the
prefrontal cortex to integrate sensory information from the environment and
regulate adaptive responses to threat during uncertainty. However, the precise
prefrontal circuits necessary for discriminating a previously threatening context
from a neutral context remain unknown. Using a combination of single-unit
recordings and optogenetic manipulations, we identified a neuronal subpopulation
in the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) that projects to the lateral and
ventrolateral periaqueductal gray (l/vlPAG) and is selectively activated during
contextual fear discrimination. Moreover, optogenetic activation and inhibition
of this neuronal population promoted contextual fear discrimination and
generalization, respectively. Our results identify a subpopulation of
dmPFC-l/vlPAG-projecting neurons that control switching between different
emotional states during contextual discrimination.

Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.12.044
PMID: 29398355


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