Abstract

Previous studies of the retrosplenial cortex (RSC) have focused on its role in navigation and memory, consistent with its well-established medial temporal connections, but recent evidence also suggests a role for this region in reward and decision making. Because function is determined largely by anatomical connections, and to better understand the anatomy of RSC, we used tract-tracing methods to examine the anatomical connectivity between the rat RSC and frontostriatal networks (canonical reward and decision-making circuits). We find that, among frontal cortical regions, RSC bidirectionally connects most strongly with the anterior cingulate cortex, but also with an area of the central–medial orbito-frontal cortex. RSC projects to the dorsomedial striatum, and its terminal fields are virtually encompassed by the frontal-striatal projection zone, suggestive of functional convergence through the basal ganglia. This overlap is driven by anterior cingulate cortex, prelimbic cortex, and orbito-frontal cortex, all of which contribute to goal-directed decision making, suggesting that the RSC is involved in similar processes.

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