The structures forming the medial temporal lobe appear to be necessary for the establishment of long-term declarative memory. In particular, they may be involved in the "consolidation" of information in higher-order associational cortices, perhaps through feedback projections. This review highlights the fact that the medial temporal lobe is organized as a hierarchy of associational networks. Indeed, associational connections within the perirhinal, parahippocampal, and entorhinal cortices enables a significant amount of integration of unimodal and polymodal inputs, so that only highly integrated information reaches the remainder of the hippocampal formation. The feedback efferent projections from the perirhinal and parahippocampal cortices to the neocortex largely reciprocate the afferent projections from the neocortex to these areas. There are, however, noticeable differences in the degree of reciprocity of connections between the perirhinal and parahippocampal cortices and certain areas of the neocortex, in particular in the frontal and temporal lobes. These observations are particularly important for models of hippocampal-neocortical interaction and long-term storage of information in the neocortex. Furthermore, recent functional studies suggest that the perirhinal and parahippocampal cortices are more than interfaces for communication between the neocortex and the hippocampal formation. These structures participate actively in memory processes, but the precise role they play in the service of memory or other cognitive functions is currently unclear.