Convergence of unimodal and polymodal sensory input to the entorhinal cortex in the fascicularis monkey.
ABSTRACT The hippocampal formation is a key structure in memory formation and consolidation. The hippocampus receives information from different cortical and subcortical sources. Cortical information is mostly funneled to the hippocampus through the entorhinal cortex (EC) in a bi-directional way that ultimately ends in the cortex. Retrograde tracing studies in the nonhuman primate indicate that more than two-thirds of the cortical afferents to the EC come from polymodal sensory association areas. Although some evidence for the projection from visual unimodal cortex to the EC exists, inputs from other visual and auditory unimodal association areas, and the possibility of their convergence with polymodal input in the EC remains largely undisclosed. We studied 10 Macaca fascicularis monkeys in which cortical deposits of the anterograde tracer biotinylated dextran-amine were made into different portions of visual and auditory unimodal association cortices in the temporal lobe, and in polymodal association cortex at the upper bank of the superior temporal sulcus. Visual and auditory unimodal as well as polymodal cortical areas projected to the EC. Both visual unimodal and polymodal association cortices presented dense projections, while those from unimodal auditory association cortex were more patchy and less dense. In all instances, the projection distributed in both the superficial and deep layers of the EC. However, while polymodal cortex projected to all layers (including layer I), visual unimodal cortex did not project to layer I, and auditory unimodal cortex projected less densely, scattered through all layers. Topographically, convergence from the three cortical areas studied can be observed in the lateral rostral and lateral caudal subfields. The present study suggests that unimodal and polymodal association cortical inputs converge in the lateral EC, thereby providing the possibility for the integration of complex stimuli for internal representations in declarative memory elaboration.