Cortico-hippocampal systems involved in memory and cognition: the PMAT framework

Prog Brain Res. 2015;219:45-64. doi: 10.1016/bs.pbr.2015.04.001. Epub 2015 May 23.


In this chapter, we review evidence that the cortical pathways to the hippocampus appear to extend from two large-scale cortical systems: a posterior medial (PM) system that includes the parahippocampal cortex and retrosplenial cortex, and an anterior temporal (AT) system that includes the perirhinal cortex. This "PMAT" framework accounts for differences in the anatomical and functional connectivity of the medial temporal lobes, which may underpin differences in cognitive function between the systems. The PM and AT systems make distinct contributions to memory and to other cognitive domains, and convergent findings suggest that they are involved in processing information about contexts and items, respectively. In order to support the full complement of memory-guided behavior, the two systems must interact, and the hippocampal and ventromedial prefrontal cortex may serve as sites of integration between the two systems. We conclude that when considering the "connected hippocampus," inquiry should extend beyond the medial temporal lobes to include the large-scale cortical systems of which they are a part.

Keywords: Default network; Episodic memory; Functional connectivity; Medial temporal lobes; Parahippocampal cortex; Perirhinal cortex; Retrosplenial cortex.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*