Cocaine treatment paired with environmental cues establishes a conditioned place preference (CPP) for that environment. After expression of this preference, rats show elevated levels of immediate early genes (IEGs; e.g. c-fos) in the prelimbic cortex (PrL), basolateral amygdala complex (BLC), and nucleus accumbens core (NAcc) compared with drug-unpaired controls. These findings, together with the known connections between these regions, suggest that they function as a circuit contributing to cue-elicited craving. To investigate the function of this circuit during drug-seeking, we characterized Fos immunoreactivity of particular neuron classes in each region. To distinguish between IEG activation of GABAergic and non-GABAergic (principally, excitatory projection) neurons, we combined Fos immunohistochemistry with immunohistochemistry for glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 (GAD67) or calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CAMKII) proteins. Within the BLC and NAcc of drug-paired and drug-unpaired animals tested for CPP, we observed no significant differences in the percentage of Fos-immunoreactive (IR) cells that were also GAD67-IR. We also observed no group difference in the degree of Fos/CAMKII overlap in the BLC. However, in PrL, the degree of Fos/GAD67 overlap in the drug-paired group was significantly higher than in the drug-unpaired group. Also, the Fos/CAMKII overlap in the entire PrL as well as just its layer V was significantly lower in the drug-paired animals compared with controls. These findings suggest that, during CPP expression in cocaine-paired animals, the PrL GABAergic interneurons are preferentially activated while PrL output is attenuated, perhaps through greater inhibition of layer V pyramidal neurons. These results suggest a shifting prefrontal cortex cell population response during cocaine-seeking.