Mapping Prefrontal Cortex Inputs to the Olfactory Cortex
Estelle in 't Zandt
Authors: Estelle E. in ‘t Zandt, Hillary L. Cansler, Daniel W. Wesson
Faculty Mentor: Daniel W. Wesson
College: College of Medicine
The brain is constantly bombarded by sensory information from the environment. To perform any cognitive task, selective attention is required to filter these stimuli and focus only on pertinent information. The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is crucial for selective attention, but how this works in the olfactory system is unknown. Because odor information in the olfactory tubercle is modulated by attention, we mapped mPFC inputs to the OT to refine our understanding of this network’s potential role in olfactory attention. We injected rats (n=3) with two viruses encoding red or green fluorophores tagged to the synaptic protein synaptophysin into two subdivisions of the mPFC, the prelimbic (PrL) and infralimbic (IL) cortices. We examined the distribution of green- versus red-synaptophysin in the OT to determine which regions receive input from the PrL and/or the IL. Interestingly, we found that the medial OT receives more input from the PrL and IL than the lateral OT. Further analysis will examine mPFC inputs to another olfactory cortex, the piriform cortex, whose role in olfactory attention is unclear. These results highlight the potential significance of the medial OT for olfactory attention and will guide future work investigating the functional significance of this pathway.
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