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Afferent Connections to the Rostrolateral Part of the Periaqueductal Gray: A Critical Region Influencing the Motivation Drive to Hunt and Forage

By Sandra Regina Mota-Ortiz, Marcia Harumi Sukikara, Luciano Freitas Felicio and Newton Sabino Canteras


Previous studies have shown that a particular site in the periaqueductal gray (PAG), the rostrolateral PAG, influences the motivation drive to forage or hunt. To have a deeper understanding on the putative paths involved in the decision-making process between foraging, hunting, and other behavioral responses, in the present investigation, we carried out a systematic analysis of the neural inputs to the rostrolateral PAG (rlPAG), using Fluorogold as a retrograde tracer. According to the present findings, the rlPAG appears to be importantly driven by medial prefrontal cortical areas involved in controlling attention-related and decision-making processes. Moreover, the rlPAG also receives a wealth of information from different amygdalar, hypothalamic, and brainstem sites related to feeding, drinking, or hunting behavioral responses. Therefore, this unique combination of afferent connections puts the rlPAG in a privileged position to influence the motivation drive to choose whether hunting and foraging would be the most appropriate adaptive responses

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