Comparative aspects of the olfactory portion of the entorhinal cortex and its projection to the hippocampus in rodents, nonhuman primates, and the human brain

Brain Res Bull. 2002 Feb-Mar 1;57(3-4):557-60. doi: 10.1016/s0361-9230(01)00684-0.


The entorhinal cortex is a component of the hippocampal formation characterized by its projection to the dentate gyrus. Cortical input is relayed to the hippocampus through the entorhinal cortex. The entorhinal cortex can be recognized best in mammals, and it reaches its maximal importance in both human and nonhuman primates. In primates, but not in rodents, the olfactory projection from the olfactory bulb is the only direct sensory projection reaching the entorhinal cortex, where it defines a rostromedial subfield (olfactory subfield of the entorhinal cortex, EO). In this communication, we consider some comparative aspects of this projection in rodents, nonhuman primates, and human brains, in relation to the forward projection to the hippocampus. We base our analysis on the following three considerations: (1) Topology: Topologically, the entorhinal cortex lies medial to the rhinal fissure, well developed in all mammals except in humans. EO maintains the same topological relationship to the rhinal fissure in the three mammalian orders. (2) Cytoarchitecture: The rostromedial portion shows poorer lamination compared with caudomedial portions of the entorhinal cortex in the three mammalian orders examined. (3) Connectivity: In rodents, the olfactory projection covers the whole extent of the entorhinal cortex, whereas it decreases substantially in macaques, where it roughly covers 15% of the entorhinal cortex. The human EO as defined by topological and cytoarchitectonic criteria may be even less than in macaques. Interestingly, good evidence exists that all of these mammalian orders maintain the same topographical scheme of projection to the rostral end of the hippocampus.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Entorhinal Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Entorhinal Cortex / cytology
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Macaca fascicularis / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Olfactory Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Olfactory Pathways / cytology
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology*
  • Rats / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*