Organization and Detailed Parcellation of Human Hippocampal Head and Body Regions Based on a Combined Analysis of Cyto- and Chemoarchitecture

J Comp Neurol. 2015 Oct 15;523(15):2233-53. doi: 10.1002/cne.23786. Epub 2015 Jul 15.


The hippocampal formation (HF) is one of the hottest regions in neuroscience because it is critical to learning, memory, and cognition, while being vulnerable to many neurological and mental disorders. With increasing high-resolution imaging techniques, many scientists have started to use distinct landmarks along the anterior-posterior axis of HF to allow segmentation into individual subfields in order to identify specific functions in both normal and diseased conditions. These studies urgently call for more reliable and accurate segmentation of the HF subfields DG, CA3, CA2, CA1, prosubiculum, subiculum, presubiculum, and parasubiculum. Unfortunately, very limited data are available on detailed parcellation of the HF subfields, especially in the complex, curved hippocampal head region. In this study we revealed detailed organization and parcellation of all subfields of the hippocampal head and body regions on the base of a combined analysis of multiple cyto- and chemoarchitectural stains and dense sequential section sampling. We also correlated these subfields to macro-anatomical landmarks, which are visible on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Furthermore, we created three versions of the detailed anatomic atlas for the hippocampal head region to account for brains with four, three, or two hippocampal digitations. These results will provide a fundamental basis for understanding the organization, parcellation, and anterior-posterior difference of human HF, facilitating accurate segmentation and measurement of HF subfields in the human brain on MRI scans.

Keywords: AB_10000343; AB_10000347; AB_2314904; RRIDs: AB_10048713; calbindin; hippocampal subfield; immunohistochemistry; medial temporal lobe; neurofilament protein; neuronal nuclear antigen; parvalbumin; pes hippocampi; subicular cortex; uncus.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, Nuclear / metabolism
  • Atlases as Topic
  • Female
  • Head / anatomy & histology
  • Hippocampus / cytology*
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Photomicrography


  • Antigens, Nuclear
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • neuronal nuclear antigen NeuN, human