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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2008, Article ID 381243, 18 pages
Review Article

What Does the Anatomical Organization of the Entorhinal Cortex Tell Us?

1Department of Neuroscience, Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience and Centre for the Biology of Memory, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Building MTFS, 7489 Trondheim, Norway
2Department of Anatomy and Neurosciences, Institute for Clinical and Experimental Neurosciences, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, P.O. Box 7057, 1007MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Received 6 February 2008; Accepted 23 May 2008

Academic Editor: Roland S. G. Jones

Copyright © 2008 Cathrin B. Canto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The entorhinal cortex is commonly perceived as a major input and output structure of the hippocampal formation, entertaining the role of the nodal point of cortico-hippocampal circuits. Superficial layers receive convergent cortical information, which is relayed to structures in the hippocampus, and hippocampal output reaches deep layers of entorhinal cortex, that project back to the cortex. The finding of the grid cells in all layers and reports on interactions between deep and superficial layers indicate that this rather simplistic perception may be at fault. Therefore, an integrative approach on the entorhinal cortex, that takes into account recent additions to our knowledge database on entorhinal connectivity, is timely. We argue that layers in entorhinal cortex show different functional characteristics most likely not on the basis of strikingly different inputs or outputs, but much more likely on the basis of differences in intrinsic organization, combined with very specific sets of inputs. Here, we aim to summarize recent anatomical data supporting the notion that the traditional description of the entorhinal cortex as a layered input-output structure for the hippocampal formation does not give the deserved credit to what this structure might be contributing to the overall functions of cortico-hippocampal networks.