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Medial temporal lobe projections to the retrosplenial cortex of the macaque monkey



The projections to the retrosplenial cortex (areas 29 and 30) from the hippocampal formation, the entorhinal cortex, perirhinal cortex, and amygdala were examined in two species of macaque monkey by tracking the anterograde transport of amino acids. Hippocampal projections arose from the subiculum and presubiculum to terminate principally in area 29. Label was found in layer I and layer III(IV), the former seemingly reflecting both fibers of passage and termination. While the rostral subiculum mainly projects to the ventral retrosplenial cortex, mid and caudal levels of the subiculum have denser projections to both the caudal and dorsal retrosplenial cortex. Appreciable projections to dorsal area 30 [layer III(IV)] were only seen following an extensive injection involving both the caudal subiculum and presubiculum. This same case provided the only example of a light projection from the hippocampal formation to posterior cingulate area 23 (layer III). Anterograde label from the entorhinal cortex injections was typically concentrated in layer I of 29a–c, though the very caudal entorhinal cortex appeared to provide more widespread retrosplenial projections. In this study, neither the amygdala nor the perirhinal cortex were found to have appreciable projections to the retrosplenial cortex, although injections in either medial temporal region revealed efferent fibers that pass very close or even within this cortical area. Finally, light projections to area 30V, which is adjacent to the calcarine sulcus, were seen in those cases with rostral subiculum and entorhinal injections. The results reveal a particular affinity between the hippocampal formation and the retrosplenial cortex, and so distinguish areas 29 and 30 from area 23 within the posterior cingulate region. The findings also suggest further functional differences within retrosplenial subregions as area 29 received the large majority of efferents from the subiculum. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.