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J Comp Neurol. 1995 May 1;355(2):171-98.

The human entorhinal cortex: a cytoarchitectonic analysis.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.


The entorhinal cortex of man is in the medial aspect of the temporal lobe. As in other mammalian species, it constitutes an essential component of the hippocampal formation and the route through which the neocortex interacts with the hippocampus. The importance of knowing its architecture in detail arises from the possibility of extrapolating it to experimental findings, notably in the nonhuman primate. We have investigated the cytoarchitectonic features of the human entorhinal cortex by using as a base our previous study (D.G. Amaral, R. Insausti, and W.M. Cowan [1987] J. Comp. Neurol. 264:326-355) of the nonhuman primate entorhinal cortex. We prepared serial sections of the temporal lobe from 35 normal brains. Thionin- and myelin-stained series were made of all cases. Sections spaced 500 microns apart through the full rostrocaudal extent of the entorhinal cortex were analyzed. The human entorhinal cortex is made up of six layers, of which layer IV does not appear throughout all subfields of the entorhinal cortex. The overall appearance resembles that of the adjacent neocortex in lateral and caudal portions. In harmony with general structural principles in the nonhuman primate entorhinal cortex, our analysis supports the partitioning of the human entorhinal cortex into eight different subfields. (1) The olfactory subfield (EO), the rostralmost field, is little laminated. (2) The lateral rostral subfield (ELr), laterally located, merges with the laterally adjacent perirhinal cortex. (3) The rostral subfield (ER) is between EO and ELr, with better differentiation of layers II and III than EO. (4) The medial intermediate subfield (EMI) is located at the medial border. (5) The intermediate field (EI) is a lateral continuation of EMI; lamina dissecans (layer IV) can be best appreciated in this field. (6) The lateral caudal subfield (ELc) laterally borders on EI as a continuation of ELr. (7) The caudal subfield (EC) lies caudal to the beginning of the hippocampal fissure, with a distinctive, clear space (Vc) between layers V and VI. (8) The caudal limiting field (ECL) forms the caudal termination of the entorhinal cortex. Thus our parcellation of the entorhinal cortex in man is largely parallel to that arrived at in the monkey. This close homology provides a rational basis for the application to clinical problems of anatomical and functional information obtained in experimental work in nonhuman primates.

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