Although many studies have shown that the prelimbic (PL) cortex of the mPFC is involved in the formation of conditioned freezing behavior, few have considered the acoustic response characteristics of PL cortex. Importantly, the change in auditory response characteristics of the PL cortex after conditional fear learning is largely unknown. Here we used in vivo cell-attached recordings targeting the mPFC during the waking state. We confirmed that the mPFC of adult C57 mice have neurons that respond to noise and tone in the waking state, especially in the PL cortex. Interestingly, the data also confirmed that these neurons responded well to the intensity of sound but did not have frequency topological distribution characteristics. Furthermore, we found that the number of c-fos positive neurons in the PL cortex increased significantly after auditory fear conditioning. The auditory-induced local field potential recordings and in vivo cell-attached recordings demonstrated that the PL cortex was more sensitive to the auditory conditioned stimulus after the acquisition of conditioned fear. The proportion of neurons responding to noise was significantly increased, and the signal to noise ratio of the spikes were also increased. These data reveal that PL neurons themselves responded to the main information (sound intensity), while the secondary information (frequency) response was almost negligible after auditory fear conditioning. This phenomenon may be the functional basis for handling this type of emotional memory, and this response characteristic is thought to be emotional sensitization but does not change the nature of this response.
Keywords: auditory fear conditioning cell-attached clamp recording emotional sensitization local field potential recording medial prefrontal cortex threat