The postsubicular cortex in the rat: characterization of the fourth region of the subicular cortex and its connections

Brain Res. 1990 Oct 8;529(1-2):165-77. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(90)90824-u.


The hippocampal formation contributes importantly to many cognitive functions, and therefore has been a focus of intense anatomical and physiological research. Most of this research has focused on the hippocampus proper and the fascia dentata, and much less attention has been given to the subicular cortex, the origin of most extrinsic projections from the hippocampal formation. The present experiments demonstrate that the postsubiculum is a distinct area of the subicular cortex. The major projections to the postsubiculum originate in the hippocampal formation, the cingulate cortex, and the thalamus (primarily from the anterodorsal (AD) nucleus and to a lesser extent from the anteroventral (AV) and lateral dorsal (LD) nuclei). These projections differ from the thalamic projections to presubiculum and parasubiculum. Efferent projections from the postsubiculum terminate in both cortical and subcortical areas. The cortical projections terminate in the subicular and retrosplenial cortices and in the caudal lateral entorhinal and perirhinal cortices. Subcortical projections primarily end in the AD and the LD nuclei of the thalamus. These thalamic projections end in areas that are distinct from those to which the presubiculum and parasubiculum project. For instance, the postsubiculum has a dense terminal field in the AD nucleus, but presubicular axons terminate predominantly in the AV nucleus. The cortical projections also distinguish postsubiculum. All subicular areas project to the entorhinal cortex, but the postsubicular projection ends in the deep layers (i.e. IV-VI), whereas presubiculum projects to layers I and III, and parasubiculum projects to layer II. Postsubiculum projects to retrosplenial granular b cortex and only incidentally to retrosplenial granular a cortex. In contrast presubiculum projects to the retrosplenial granular a cortex but not to the retrosplenial granular b cortex. These differences clearly mark the postsubiculum, the presubiculum, and the parasubiculum as distinct regions within the subicular cortex and suggest that they subserve different roles in the processing and integration of limbic system information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport
  • Axons / physiology
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Hippocampus / anatomy & histology*
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Models, Neurological
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains / anatomy & histology*


  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • leukoagglutinins, plants