Subicular and CA1 hippocampal projections to the accessory olfactory bulb.
ABSTRACT The hippocampal formation is anatomically and functionally related to the olfactory structures especially in rodents. The entorhinal cortex (EC) receives afferent projections from the main olfactory bulb; this constitutes an olfactory pathway to the hippocampus. In addition to the olfactory system, most mammals possess an accessory olfactory (or vomeronasal) system. The relationships between the hippocampal formation and the vomeronasal system are virtually unexplored. Recently, a centrifugal projection from CA1 to the accessory olfactory bulb has been identified using anterograde tracers. In the study reported herein, experiments using anterograde tracers confirm this projection, and injections of retrograde tracers show the distribution and morphology of a population of CA1 and ventral subicular neurons projecting to the accessory olfactory bulb of rats. These results extend previous descriptions of hippocampal projections to the accessory olfactory bulb by including the ventral subiculum and characterizing the morphology, neurochemistry (double labeling with somatostatin), and distribution of such neurons. These data suggest feedback hippocampal control of chemosensory stimuli in the accessory olfactory bulb. Whether this projection processes spatial information on conspecifics or is involved in learning and memory processes associated with chemical stimuli remains to be elucidated.