The Journal of Neuroscience. May 29, 2019 39(22) 4353-4364
Jeroen P.H. Verharen, Mauri W. van den Heuvel, Mieneke Luijendijk,Louk J.M.J. Vanderschuren,
and Roger A.H. Adan
Being able to limit the pursuit of reward to prevent negative consequences is an important expression of behavioral inhibition. Everyday examples of an inability to exert such control over behavior are the overconsumption of food and drugs of abuse, which are important factors in the development of obesity and addiction, respectively. Here, we use a behavioral task that assesses the ability of male rats to exert behavioral restraint at the mere sight of palatable food during the presentation of an audiovisual threat cue to investigate the corticolimbic underpinnings of behavioral inhibition. We demonstrate a prominent role for the medial prefrontal cortex in the exertion of control over behavior under threat of punishment. Moreover, task engagement relies on function of the ventral striatum, whereas the basolateral amygdala mediates processing of the threat cue. Together, these data show that inhibition of reward pursuit requires the
coordinated action of a network of corticolimbic structures.