Although the retrosplenial granular b cortex (Rgb) is situated in a critical position between the hippocampal formation and the neocortex, surprisingly few studies have examined its connections carefully. The present experiments use both anterograde and retrograde tracing techniques to characterize the connections of Rgb. The main cortical projections from Rgb are to the caudal part of the anterior cingulate cortex, area 18b, retrosplenial granular a cortex (Rga), and postsubiculum, and less dense terminal fields are present in the prelimbic and caudal occipital cortices. The major subcortical projections are to the anterior thalamic nuclei and the rostral pontine nuclei, and very small terminal fields are present in the caudal dorsomedial part of the striatum, the reuniens and reticular nuclei of the thalamus, and the mammillary bodies. Contralaterally, Rgb primarily projects to itself, i.e., homotypically, and more sparsely projects to Rga and postsubiculum. In general, the axons from Rgb terminate ipsilaterally in cortical layers I and III-V and contralaterally in layer V, with a smaller number of terminals in layers I and VI. Thalamic projections from Rgb target the anteroventral and laterodorsal nuclei of the thalamus, with only a few axons terminating in the anterodorsal nucleus, the reticular nucleus, and the nucleus reuniens of the thalamus. Rgb is innervated by the anterior cingulate cortex, precentral agranular cortex, cortical area 18b, dorsal subiculum, and postsubiculum. Subcortical projections to Rgb originate mainly in the claustrum, the horizontal limb of the diagonal band of Broca, and the anterior thalamic nuclei. These data demonstrate that, in the rat, Rgb is a major nodal point for the integration and subsequent distribution of information to and from the hippocampal formation, the midline limbic and visual cortices, and the thalamus. Thus, similarly to the entorhinal cortex, Rgb in the rat is a prominent gateway for information exchange between the hippocampal formation and other limbic areas of the brain.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.