The perforant path: projections from the entorhinal cortex to the dentate gyrus

Prog Brain Res. 2007;163:43-61. doi: 10.1016/S0079-6123(07)63003-9.


This paper provides a comprehensive description of the organization of projections from the entorhinal cortex to the dentate gyrus, which together with projections to other subfields of the hippocampal formation form the so-called perforant pathway. To this end, data that are primarily from anatomical studies in the rat will be summarized, complimented with comparative data from other species. The analysis of the organization of any of the connections of the hippocampus, including that of the entorhinal cortex to the dentate gyrus, is severely hampered because of the complex three-dimensional shape of the hippocampus. In particular in rodents, but to a lesser extent also in primates, all traditional planes of sectioning will result in sections that at some point or another do not cut through the hippocampus at an angle that is perpendicular to its long axis. To amend this, we will describe own unpublished tracing data obtained in the rat with the use of the so-called extended preparation. A number of issues will be addressed. First, data will be summarized which will clarify the laminar origin of the perforant pathway within the entorhinal cortex. Second, we will discuss whether or not a radial organization, along the proximo-distal dendritic axis of granule cells, characterizes the entorhinal-dentate projection. Third, we will discuss whether this projection is governed by any transverse organization, and fourth, we will focus on the organization along the longitudinal axis. Finally, the synaptic organization and the contralateral entorhinal-dentate projection will be described briefly. Taken together, the available data suggest that the projection from the entorhinal cortex to the dentate gyrus is a fairly well conserved connection, present in all species studied, exhibiting a grossly similar organization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dentate Gyrus / anatomy & histology*
  • Entorhinal Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Perforant Pathway / anatomy & histology*
  • Perforant Pathway / physiology*
  • Rats