The amygdalopiriform transition area (APir) is often considered part of the lateral entorhinal cortex (Entl). However, in contrast to Entl, APir densely innervates the central extended amygdala (EAc) and does not project to the dentate gyrus. In order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of these territories, the afferent connections of APir were examined in the rat with retrograde (cholera toxin B subunit or FluoroGold) and anterograde tracers (Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin) and compared to those of the neighboring Entl. The results suggest that APir and Entl are interconnected and receive topographically organized hippocampal projections. Both are targeted by the olfactory bulb, the piriform, posterior agranular insular and perirhinal cortices, the ventral tegmental area, dorsal raphe nucleus, and locus coeruleus. Most importantly, the data reveal that APir and Entl also have specific inputs and should be viewed as separate anatomical entities. The APir receives robust projections from structures affiliated with the EAc, including the anterior basomedial and posterior basolateral amygdaloid nuclei, the gustatory thalamic region, parasubthalamic nucleus, and parabrachial area. The Entl is a major recipient for amygdaloid projections from the medial part of the lateral nucleus and the caudomedial part of the basolateral nucleus. Moreover, the medial septum, subicular complex, nucleus reuniens, supramammillary region, and nucleus incertus, which are associated with the hippocampal system, preferentially innervate the Entl. These data underscore that APir processes olfactory and gustatory information and is tightly linked to EAc operations, suggesting that it may play a role in reward mechanisms, particularly in hedonic aspects of feeding.
(c) 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.