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Entorhinal cortex

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Brain: Entorhinal cortex
Medial surface. (Entorhinal cortex approximately maps to areas 28 and 34, at lower right.)
Latin '
Gray's subject #
Part of
BrainInfo/UW hier-150
MeSH A08.186.211.577.710.225

The entorhinal cortex (EC) is an important memory center in the brain. The EC forms the main input to the hippocampus and is responsible for the pre-processing (familiarity) of the input signals. In the eyeblink reflex, the association of impulses from the eye and the ear occurs in the entorhinal cortex. The EC-hippocampus system plays an important role in memory consolidation and memory optimization in sleep.

Entorhinal cortex is one of the first areas to be affected in Alzheimer's Disease, and one of the first symptoms are impaired sense of direction. In 2005, it was discovered that entorhinal cortex contains a neural map of the spatial environment (Hafting et al., 2005).

The entorhinal cortex show a modular organization, with different properties and connections in different areas. Neurons in the lateral entorhinal cortex exhibit little spatial selectivity (Hargreaves et al., 2005) while neurons of the medial entorhinal (MEA) cortex exhibit multiple "place fields" that are arranged in an hexagonal pattern, and are therefore called "grid cells". These fields and spacing between fields increase from the dorso-lateral MEA to the ventro-medial MEA (Fyhn et al., 2004; Hafting et al., 2005).


In rodents, EC is located at the caudal end of the temporal lobe and is usually divided into medial and lateral regions (with three bands with distinct properties and connectivity running perpendicular across the whole area). A distinguishing characteristic of EC is the lack of cell bodies where layer IV should be; this layer is called the lamina dissecans.

Inputs and outputs

The superficial layers - layers II and III - of EC project to the dentate gyrus and hippocampus: Layer II primarily projects to dentate gyrus and hippocampal region CA3; layer III primarily projects to hippocampal region CA1 and the subiculum. These layers receive input from other cortical areas, especially associational, perirhinal, and parahippocampal cortices, as well as prefrontal cortex. EC as a whole, therefore, receives highly-processed input from every sensory modality, as well as input relating to ongoing cognitive processes, though it should be stressed that, within EC, this information remains at least partially segregated.

The deep layers, especially layer V, receive one of the three main outputs of the hippocampus, and, in turn, reciprocate connections from other cortical areas that project to superficial EC.

Brodmann's areas

External links

Telencephalon (cerebrum, cerebral cortex, cerebral hemispheres) - edit

primary sulci/fissures: medial longitudinal, lateral, central, parietoöccipital, calcarine, cingulate

frontal lobe: precentral gyrus (primary motor cortex, 4), precentral sulcus, superior frontal gyrus (6, 8), middle frontal gyrus (46), inferior frontal gyrus (Broca's area, 44-pars opercularis, 45-pars triangularis), prefrontal cortex (orbitofrontal cortex, 9, 10, 11, 12, 47)

parietal lobe: postcentral sulcus, postcentral gyrus (1, 2, 3, 43), superior parietal lobule (5), inferior parietal lobule (39-angular gyrus, 40), precuneus (7), intraparietal sulcus

occipital lobe: primary visual cortex (17), cuneus, lingual gyrus, 18, 19 (18 and 19 span whole lobe)

temporal lobe: transverse temporal gyrus (41-42-primary auditory cortex), superior temporal gyrus (38, 22-Wernicke's area), middle temporal gyrus (21), inferior temporal gyrus (20), fusiform gyrus (36, 37)

limbic lobe/fornicate gyrus: cingulate cortex/cingulate gyrus, anterior cingulate (24, 32, 33), posterior cingulate (23, 31),
isthmus (26, 29, 30), parahippocampal gyrus (piriform cortex, 25, 27, 35), entorhinal cortex (28, 34)

subcortical/insular cortex: rhinencephalon, olfactory bulb, corpus callosum, lateral ventricles, septum pellucidum, ependyma, internal capsule, corona radiata, external capsule

hippocampal formation: dentate gyrus, hippocampus, subiculum

basal ganglia: striatum (caudate nucleus, putamen), lentiform nucleus (putamen, globus pallidus), claustrum, extreme capsule, amygdala, nucleus accumbens

Some categorizations are approximations, and some Brodmann areas span gyri.

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