Long-axis specialization of the human hippocampus

Trends Cogn Sci. 2013 May;17(5):230-40. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2013.03.005. Epub 2013 Apr 16.


Investigation of the hippocampus has historically focused on computations within the trisynaptic circuit. However, discovery of important anatomical and functional variability along its long axis has inspired recent proposals of long-axis functional specialization in both the animal and human literatures. Here, we review and evaluate these proposals. We suggest that various long-axis specializations arise out of differences between the anterior (aHPC) and posterior hippocampus (pHPC) in large-scale network connectivity, the organization of entorhinal grid cells, and subfield compositions that bias the aHPC and pHPC towards pattern completion and separation, respectively. The latter two differences give rise to a property, reflected in the expression of multiple other functional specializations, of coarse, global representations in anterior hippocampus and fine-grained, local representations in posterior hippocampus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / anatomy & histology*
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Recall
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*