Organization of anterior cingulate and frontal cortical projections to the retrosplenial cortex in the rat

J Comp Neurol. 2008 Jan 1;506(1):30-45. doi: 10.1002/cne.21523.


The retrosplenial cortex (areas 29a-d), which plays an important role in spatial memory and navigation, is known to provide massive projections to frontal association and motor cortices, which are also essential for spatial behavior. The reciprocal projections originating from these frontal cortices to areas 29a-d, however, have been analyzed to only a limited extent. Here, we report an analysis of the anatomical organization of projections from anterior cingulate area 24 and motor and prefrontal cortices to areas 29a-d in the rat, using the axonal transport of cholera toxin B subunit and biotinylated dextran amine. Area 29a receives projections from rostral area 24a, area 24b, the ventral orbital area, and the caudal secondary motor area. Rostral area 29b receives projections from caudal area 24a, whereas caudal area 29b receives projections from rostral area 24a. Area 29b also receives projections from area 24b and the ventral orbital area. Areas 29c and 29d receive projections from areas 24a and 24b and the secondary motor area in a topographic manner such that the rostrocaudal axis of areas 29c and 29d corresponds to the caudorostral axis of areas 24a and 24b and the secondary motor area. Rostral areas 29c and 29d also receive projections from the caudal primary motor area, and area 29d receives projections from the ventral, lateral, and medial orbital areas. These differential frontal cortical projections to each area of the retrosplenial cortex suggest that each area may contribute to different aspects of retrosplenial cortical function such as spatial memory and behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cholera Toxin
  • Gyrus Cinguli / cytology*
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Motor Cortex / cytology*
  • Neural Pathways
  • Prefrontal Cortex / cytology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar / anatomy & histology*
  • Space Perception / physiology*


  • Cholera Toxin