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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2009, Article ID 612698, 11 pages
Research Article

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

1Laboratory of Neurosciences, City University of Sao Paulo, UNICID, Rua Cesário Galeno 448, 03071-000 Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil
2Department of Anatomy, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of Sao Paulo, Avenida Professor Lineu Prestes 2465, 05508-900 Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil
3Department of Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechny, University of Sao Paulo, Avenida Professor Dr. Orlando Marques de Paiva 87, 05508-270 Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil

Received 29 May 2008; Revised 2 October 2008; Accepted 17 December 2008

Academic Editor: Robert Adamec

Copyright © 2009 Sandra Regina Mota-Ortiz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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.