Differential Effects of the Inactivation of Anterior and Posterior Orbitofrontal Cortex on Affective Responses to Proximal and Distal Threat, and Reward Anticipation in the Common Marmoset.


Structural and functional abnormalities of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) have been implicated in affective disorders that manifest anxiety-related symptoms. However, research into the functions of primate OFC has predominantly focused on reward-oriented rather than threat-oriented responses. To redress this imbalance, the present study performed a comprehensive analysis of the independent role of 2 distinct subregions of the central OFC (anterior area 11; aOFC and posterior area 13; pOFC) in the processing of distal and proximal threat. Temporary inactivation of both aOFC and pOFC heightened responses to distal threat in the form of an unknown human, but not to proximal threat assessed in a discriminative Pavlovian conditioning task. Inactivation of the aOFC, however, did unexpectedly blunt conditioned threat responses, although the effect was not valence-specific, as conditioned appetitive responses were similarly blunted and appeared restricted to a discriminative version of the task (when both CS- and CS+ are present within a session). Inactivation of the pOFC did not affect conditioned responses to either proximal threat or reward and basal cardiovascular activity was unaffected by manipulations of activity in either subregion. The results highlight the contribution of aOFC and pOFC to regulation of responses to more distal uncertain but not proximal, certain threat and reveal their opposing contribution to that of the immediately adjacent medial OFC, area 14.