Behavioral, anatomical, and gene expression studies have shown functional dissociations between the dorsal and ventral hippocampus with regard to their involvement in spatial cognition, emotion, and stress. In this study we examined the difference of the multisynaptic inputs to the dorsal and ventral dentate gyrus (DG) in the rat by using retrograde transsynaptic tracing of recombinant rabies virus vectors. Three days after the vectors were injected into the dorsal or ventral DG, monosynaptic neuronal labeling was present in the entorhinal cortex, medial septum, diagonal band, and supramammillary nucleus, each of which is known to project to the DG directly. As in previous tracing studies, topographical patterns related to the dorsal and ventral DG were seen in these regions. Five days after infection, more of the neurons in these regions were labeled and labeled neurons were also seen in cortical and subcortical regions, including the piriform and medial prefrontal cortices, the endopiriform nucleus, the claustrum, the cortical amygdala, the medial raphe nucleus, the medial habenular nucleus, the interpeduncular nucleus, and the lateral septum. As in the monosynaptically labeled regions, a topographical distribution of labeled neurons was evident in most of these disynaptically labeled regions. These data indicate that the cortical and subcortical inputs to the dorsal and ventral DG are conveyed through parallel disynaptic pathways. This secondorder input difference in the dorsal and ventral DG is likely to contribute to the functional differentiation of the hippocampus along the dorsoventral axis.
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