A review of medial temporal lobe connections reveals three distinct groupings of hippocampal efferents. These efferent systems and their putative memory functions are: (1) The 'extended-hippocampal system' for episodic memory, which involves the anterior thalamic nuclei, mammillary bodies and retrosplenial cortex, originates in the subicular cortices, and has a largely laminar organisation; (2) The 'rostral hippocampal system' for affective and social learning, which involves prefrontal cortex, amygdala and nucleus accumbens, has a columnar organisation, and originates from rostral CA1 and subiculum; (3) The 'reciprocal hippocampal-parahippocampal system' for sensory processing and integration, which originates from the length of CA1 and the subiculum, and is characterised by columnar, connections with reciprocal topographies. A fourth system, the 'parahippocampal-prefrontal system' that supports familiarity signalling and retrieval processing, has more widespread prefrontal connections than those of the hippocampus, along with different thalamic inputs. Despite many interactions between these four systems, they may retain different roles in memory which when combined explain the importance of the medial temporal lobe for the formation of declarative memories.
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