Are the dorsal and ventral hippocampus functionally distinct structures?

Neuron. 2010 Jan 14;65(1):7-19. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.11.031.


One literature treats the hippocampus as a purely cognitive structure involved in memory; another treats it as a regulator of emotion whose dysfunction leads to psychopathology. We review behavioral, anatomical, and gene expression studies that together support a functional segmentation into three hippocampal compartments: dorsal, intermediate, and ventral. The dorsal hippocampus, which corresponds to the posterior hippocampus in primates, performs primarily cognitive functions. The ventral (anterior in primates) relates to stress, emotion, and affect. Strikingly, gene expression in the dorsal hippocampus correlates with cortical regions involved in information processing, while genes expressed in the ventral hippocampus correlate with regions involved in emotion and stress (amygdala and hypothalamus).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Hippocampus* / anatomy & histology
  • Hippocampus* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Memory*
  • Nerve Net / anatomy & histology
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Primates / anatomy & histology
  • Primates / physiology