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      Architecture of the Entorhinal Cortex A Review of Entorhinal Anatomy in Rodents with Some Comparative Notes

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          The entorhinal cortex (EC) is the major input and output structure of the hippocampal formation, forming the nodal point in cortico-hippocampal circuits. Different division schemes including two or many more subdivisions have been proposed, but here we will argue that subdividing EC into two components, the lateral EC (LEC) and medial EC (MEC) might suffice to describe the functional architecture of EC. This subdivision then leads to an anatomical interpretation of the different phenotypes of LEC and MEC. First, we will briefly summarize the cytoarchitectonic differences and differences in hippocampal projection patterns on which the subdivision between LEC and MEC traditionally is based and provide a short comparative perspective. Second, we focus on main differences in cortical connectivity, leading to the conclusion that the apparent differences may well correlate with the functional differences. Cortical connectivity of MEC is features interactions with areas such as the presubiculum, parasubiculum, retrosplenial cortex (RSC) and postrhinal cortex, all areas that are considered to belong to the “spatial processing domain” of the cortex. In contrast, LEC is strongly connected with olfactory areas, insular, medial- and orbitofrontal areas and perirhinal cortex. These areas are likely more involved in processing of object information, attention and motivation. Third, we will compare the intrinsic networks involving principal- and inter-neurons in LEC and MEC. Together, these observations suggest that the different phenotypes of both EC subdivisions likely depend on the combination of intrinsic organization and specific sets of inputs. We further suggest a reappraisal of the notion of EC as a layered input-output structure for the hippocampal formation.

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          Most cited references 116

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          Microstructure of a spatial map in the entorhinal cortex.

          The ability to find one's way depends on neural algorithms that integrate information about place, distance and direction, but the implementation of these operations in cortical microcircuits is poorly understood. Here we show that the dorsocaudal medial entorhinal cortex (dMEC) contains a directionally oriented, topographically organized neural map of the spatial environment. Its key unit is the 'grid cell', which is activated whenever the animal's position coincides with any vertex of a regular grid of equilateral triangles spanning the surface of the environment. Grids of neighbouring cells share a common orientation and spacing, but their vertex locations (their phases) differ. The spacing and size of individual fields increase from dorsal to ventral dMEC. The map is anchored to external landmarks, but persists in their absence, suggesting that grid cells may be part of a generalized, path-integration-based map of the spatial environment.
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            Path integration and the neural basis of the 'cognitive map'.

            The hippocampal formation can encode relative spatial location, without reference to external cues, by the integration of linear and angular self-motion (path integration). Theoretical studies, in conjunction with recent empirical discoveries, suggest that the medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) might perform some of the essential underlying computations by means of a unique, periodic synaptic matrix that could be self-organized in early development through a simple, symmetry-breaking operation. The scale at which space is represented increases systematically along the dorsoventral axis in both the hippocampus and the MEC, apparently because of systematic variation in the gain of a movement-speed signal. Convergence of spatially periodic input at multiple scales, from so-called grid cells in the entorhinal cortex, might result in non-periodic spatial firing patterns (place fields) in the hippocampus.
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              Conjunctive representation of position, direction, and velocity in entorhinal cortex.

              Grid cells in the medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) are part of an environment-independent spatial coordinate system. To determine how information about location, direction, and distance is integrated in the grid-cell network, we recorded from each principal cell layer of MEC in rats that explored two-dimensional environments. Whereas layer II was predominated by grid cells, grid cells colocalized with head-direction cells and conjunctive grid x head-direction cells in the deeper layers. All cell types were modulated by running speed. The conjunction of positional, directional, and translational information in a single MEC cell type may enable grid coordinates to be updated during self-motion-based navigation.

                Author and article information

                Front Syst Neurosci
                Front Syst Neurosci
                Front. Syst. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                28 June 2017
                : 11
                1Functional Neuroanatomy, KavlI Institute for Systems Neuroscience, Center for Computational Neuroscience, Egil and Pauline Braathen and Fred Kavli Center for Cortical Microcircuits, NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway
                2Division of Systems Neuroscience, Tohoku University Graduate School of Life Science Sendai, Japan
                Author notes

                Edited by: Sachin S. Deshmukh, Indian Institute of Science, India

                Reviewed by: Francisco Clasca, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain; Diano F. Marrone, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

                *Correspondence: Menno P. Witter menno.witter@
                Copyright © 2017 Witter, Doan, Jacobsen, Nilssen and Ohara.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 131, Pages: 12, Words: 10620
                Funded by: Norges Forskningsråd 10.13039/501100005416
                Award ID: 191929, 227769


                primate, rodent, connectivity, parahippocampal region, hippocampus


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