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Keywords:

  • hippocampal formation;
  • topography;
  • anterograde tracer;
  • retrograde tracer;
  • consolidation;
  • memory

Abstract

We investigated the topographic and laminar organization of the efferent cortical projections of the perirhinal and parahippocampal cortices. Area 36 of the perirhinal cortex projects preferentially to areas TE and TEO, whereas area TF of the parahippocampal cortex projects preferentially to the posterior parietal cortex and area V4. Area TF projects to many regions of the frontal lobe, whereas area 36 projects mainly to the orbital surface. The insular and cingulate cortices receive projections from areas 36 and TF, whereas only area TF projects to the retrosplenial cortex. Projections to the superior temporal gyrus, including the dorsal bank of the superior temporal sulcus, arise predominantly from area TF. Area 36 projects only to rostral levels of the superior temporal gyrus. Area TF has, in general, reciprocal connections with the neocortex, whereas area 36 has more asymmetric connections. Area 36, for example, projects to more restricted regions of the frontal cortex and superior temporal sulcus than it receives inputs from. In contrast, it projects to larger portions of areas TE and TEO than it receives inputs from. The efferent projections of areas 36 and TF are primarily directed to the superficial layers of the neocortex, a laminar organization consistent with connections of the feedback type. Projections to unimodal visual areas terminate in large expanses of the cortex, but predominantly in layer I. Projections to other sensory and polymodal areas, in contrast, terminate in a columnar manner predominantly in layers II and III. In all areas receiving heavy projections, the projections extend throughout most cortical layers, largely avoiding layer IV. We discuss these findings in relation to current theories of memory consolidation. J. Comp. Neurol. 447:394–420, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.