Intrinsic connections of the cingulate cortex in the rat suggest the existence of multiple functionally segregated networks

Neuroscience. 2005;133(1):193-207. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2005.01.063.


The cingulate cortex is a functionally and morphologically heterogeneous cortical area comprising a number of interconnected subregions. To date, the exact anatomy of intracingulate connections has not been studied in detail. In the present study we aimed to determine the topographical and laminar characteristics of intrinsic cingulate connections in the rat, using the anterograde tracers Phaseolus vulgaris-leucoagglutinin and biotinylated dextran amine. For assessment of these data we further refined and compared the existing cytoarchitectonic descriptions of the two major cingulate constituents, the anterior cingulate and retrosplenial cortices. The results of this study demonstrate that rostral areas, i.e. the infralimbic and prelimbic cortices and the rostral one third of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex are primarily interconnected with each other and not with other cingulate areas. The caudal two thirds of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex project to the caudal part of the ventral anterior cingulate cortex, whereas the entire ventral anterior cingulate cortex projects to only the mid-rostro-caudal part of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. Dense reciprocal connections exist between the remaining, i.e. the supracallosal parts of the anterior cingulate and retrosplenial cortices with a general rostro-caudal topography, in the sense that the rostral part of the anterior cingulate cortex and caudal part of the retrosplenial cortex are interconnected and the same holds true for the caudal part of the anterior cingulate cortex and rostral part of the retrosplenial cortex. This topographical pattern of intracingulate connections relates to the results of several functional studies, suggesting that specific cingulate functions depend on a number of interconnected cingulate subregions. Through their intricate associational connections, these subregions form functionally segregated networks.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biotin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Dextrans
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology*
  • Limbic System / physiology
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Dextrans
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • biotinylated dextran amine
  • leukoagglutinins, plants
  • Biotin