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Neuronal tuning to threat exposure remains stable in the mouse prefrontal cortex over multiple days

PLOS Biology

Authors: Ole Christian Sylte, Hannah Muysers, Hung-Ling Chen, Marlene Bartos, Jonas-Frederic Sauer
Publication: PLOS Biology
Date: January 11, 2024
Link to article: https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3002475


Intense threat elicits action in the form of active and passive coping. The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) executes top-level control over the selection of threat coping strategies, but the dynamics of mPFC activity upon continuing threat encounters remain unexplored. Here, we used 1-photon calcium imaging in mice to probe the activity of prefrontal pyramidal cells during repeated exposure to intense threat in a tail suspension (TS) paradigm. A subset of prefrontal neurons displayed selective activation during TS, which was stably maintained over days. During threat, neurons showed specific tuning to active or passive coping. These responses were unrelated to general motion tuning and persisted over days. Moreover, the neural manifold traversed by low-dimensional population activity remained stable over subsequent days of TS exposure and was preserved across individuals. These data thus reveal a specific, temporally, and interindividually conserved repertoire of prefrontal tuning to behavioral responses under threat.

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