Complex neural codes in rat prelimbic cortex are stable across days on a spatial decision task

Nathaniel J. Powell, A. David Redish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The rodent prelimbic cortex has been shown to play an important role in cognitive processing, and has been implicated in encoding many different parameters relevant to solving decision-making tasks. However, it is not known how the prelimbic cortex represents all these disparate variables, and if they are simultaneously represented when the task requires it. In order to investigate this question, we trained rats to run the Multiple-T Left Right Alternate (MT-LRA) task and recorded multi-unit ensembles from their prelimbic regions. Significant populations of cells in the prelimbic cortex represented the strategy controlling reward receipt on a given lap, whether the animal chose to go right or left on a given lap, and whether the animal made a correct decision or an error on a given lap. These populations overlapped in the cells recorded, with several cells demonstrating differential firing to all three variables. The spatial and strategic firing patterns of individual prelimbic cells were highly conserved across several days of running this task, indicating that each cell encoded the same information across days.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number120
JournalFrontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
Issue numberAPR
StatePublished - Apr 23 2014


  • Animal
  • Behavior
  • Decision-making
  • Neural ensemble data
  • Prefrontal cortex (PFC)
  • Prelimbic cortex
  • Rats
  • Tetrode recording


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