Perirhinal cortex input to the hippocampus in the rat: evidence for parallel pathways, both direct and indirect. A combined physiological and anatomical study

Eur J Neurosci. 1999 Nov;11(11):4119-33. doi: 10.1046/j.1460-9568.1999.00835.x.


The possibility of a direct projection from the perirhinal cortex (PER) to areas CA1 and subiculum (SUB) in the hippocampus has been suggested on the basis of tracer studies, but this projection has not unequivocally been supported by physiological studies. The demonstration of such a functional pathway might be important to understand the functioning of the hippocampal memory system. Here we present physiological and further anatomical evidence for such a connection between PER and the hippocampus. Electrical stimulation of PER in vivo evoked field potentials (EFPs) at the border area of CA1/SUB, consisting of a short latency and a longer latency component. Current source density analysis revealed that the sink of the short latency component was situated in the molecular layer of area CA1/SUB, while the longer latency component had its sink in the outer molecular layer of the dentate gyrus (DG). Anterograde tracer injections in PER showed labelled fibres in the border area of CA1/SUB, but anatomical evidence for a projection of PER to DG was not found. When synaptic transmission in the entorhinal cortex was partly blocked, the amplitude of the longer latency component of the recorded EFPs in the hippocampus was decreased while the short latency component was not affected, which suggests that the indirect pathway originating in PER is mediated through a synaptic relay in the entorhinal cortex. From the present results we conclude that information originating in PER reaches area CA1/SUB by parallel, direct and indirect, routes. The existence of this parallel organization appears to form an essential feature for the proper function of the medial temporal lobe memory system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 6-Cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport
  • Biotin / analogs & derivatives
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Dextrans
  • Electrophysiology
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Hippocampus / anatomy & histology*
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • Dextrans
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • biotinylated dextran amine
  • leukoagglutinins, plants
  • 6-Cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione
  • Biotin