Projections from the posterior cortical nucleus of the amygdala to the hippocampal formation and parahippocampal region in rat

Hippocampus. 2002;12(6):735-55. doi: 10.1002/hipo.10020.


The posterior cortical nucleus of the amygdala is involved in the processing of pheromonal information and presumably participates in ingestive, defensive, and reproductive behaviors as a part of the vomeronasal amygdala. Recent studies suggest that the posterior cortical nucleus might also modulate memory processing via its connections to the medial temporal lobe memory system. To investigate the projections from the posterior cortical nucleus to the hippocampal formation and the parahippocampal region, as well as the intra-amygdaloid connectivity in detail, we injected the anterograde tracer phaseolus vulgaris-leucoagglutinin into different rostrocaudal levels of the posterior cortical nucleus. Within the hippocampal formation, the stratum lacunosum-moleculare of the temporal CA1 subfield and the adjacent molecular layer of the proximal temporal subiculum received a moderate projection. Within the parahippocampal region, the ventral intermediate, dorsal intermediate, and medial subfields of the entorhinal cortex received light to moderate projections. Most of the labeled terminals were in layers I, II, and III. In the ventral intermediate subfield, layers V and VI were also moderately innervated. Layers I and II of the parasubiculum received a light projection. There were no projections to the presubiculum or to the perirhinal and postrhinal cortices. The heaviest intranuclear projection was directed to the deep part of layer I and to layer II of the posterior cortical nucleus. There were moderate-to-heavy intra-amygdaloid projections terminating in the bed nucleus of the accessory olfactory tract, the central division of the medial nucleus, and the sulcal division of the periamygdaloid cortex. Our data suggest that via these topographically organized projections, pheromonal information processed within the posterior cortical nucleus can influence memory formation in the hippocampal and parahippocampal areas. Also, these pathways provide routes through which seizure activity can spread from the epileptic amygdala to the surrounding region of the temporal lobe.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism
  • Amygdala / cytology*
  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Axons / ultrastructure*
  • Entorhinal Cortex / cytology
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / pathology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Hippocampus / cytology*
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / cytology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Olfactory Bulb / cytology
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology
  • Olfactory Pathways / cytology
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology
  • Parahippocampal Gyrus / cytology*
  • Parahippocampal Gyrus / physiology
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Vomeronasal Organ / cytology
  • Vomeronasal Organ / physiology


  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • leukoagglutinins, plants
  • Acetylcholinesterase