The entorhinal cortex: an examination of cyto- and myeloarchitectonic organization in humans

Cereb Cortex. 1997 Dec;7(8):722-31. doi: 10.1093/cercor/7.8.722.


The entorhinal cortex (ERC) has been implicated in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia and other disorders affecting cognitive functions. While powerful anatomical and histochemical methods (immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, etc.) may be applied (although with limitations) to postmortem human brain, each analysis should utilize a cytoarchitectonic approach to provide appropriate comparisons within the subdivisions of the ERC. Accordingly, we describe here the normal cyto- and myeloarchitecture of the human ERC as a prerequisite for the accompanying study of this region in schizophrenia. Our parcellation of this cortex differs from previous treatments in three ways. First, we adopted specific criteria of inclusion to define each subdivision of the region. Although distinctive ERC features are most prominent in the intermediate portion of this region, at least one of these features was considered the minimum necessary criterion to include adjacent tissue in the entorhinal area. Second, we used morphometric measurements (neuronal size and density as well as subdivisional volume and laminar thickness) to support our qualitative evaluation. Third, we have applied to the human ERC the conventional cytoarchitectonic nomenclature of the entorhinal cortex used previously in studies of non-human primates. This allows a more accurate extrapolation of the available numerous experimental anatomical, physiological and psychological data on this region to the human. As in the monkey, the five main subareas were recognized in the human (prorhinal, lateral, intermediate, sulcal and medial) but three required further subdivision (intermediate, sulcal and medial). The morphometric results obtained suggested a progression of the human entorhinal cortex from the peripheral to the central subareas, with the intermediate subarea (281) as the most complete entorhinal subdivision. Compared with non-human primates, the human ERC not only retains the basic periallocortical organization but also demonstrates further evolution. Taken together with available experimental data on the connectivity of this brain region, these results provide an anatomical basis for evaluating the ERC in human behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Entorhinal Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Entorhinal Cortex / cytology*
  • Female
  • Haplorhini
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Schizophrenia / pathology