Interhemispheric connections between the infralimbic and entorhinal cortices: The endopiriform nucleus has limbic connections that parallel the sensory and motor connections of the claustrum

Research paper by Glenn D.R. Watson, Jared B. Smith, Kevin D. Alloway

Indexed on: 09 Mar '16Published on: 24 Feb '16Published in: Journal of Comparative Neurology


We have previously shown that the claustrum is part of an interhemispheric circuit that interconnects somesthetic–motor and visual–motor cortical regions. The role of the claustrum in processing limbic information, however, is poorly understood. Some evidence suggests that the dorsal endopiriform nucleus (DEn), which lies immediately ventral to the claustrum, has connections with limbic cortical areas and should be considered part of a claustrum–DEn complex. To determine whether DEn has similar patterns of cortical connections as the claustrum, we used anterograde and retrograde tracing techniques to elucidate the connectivity of DEn. Following injections of retrograde tracers into DEn, labeled neurons appeared bilaterally in the infralimbic (IL) cortex and ipsilaterally in the entorhinal and piriform cortices. Anterograde tracer injections in DEn revealed labeled terminals in the same cortical regions, but only in the ipsilateral hemisphere. These tracer injections also revealed extensive longitudinal projections throughout the rostrocaudal extent of the nucleus. Dual retrograde tracer injections into IL and lateral entorhinal cortex (LEnt) revealed intermingling of labeled neurons in ipsilateral DEn, including many double‐labeled neurons. In other experiments, anterograde and retrograde tracers were separately injected into IL of each hemisphere of the same animal. This revealed an interhemispheric circuit in which IL projects bilaterally to DEn, with the densest terminal labeling appearing in the contralateral hemisphere around retrogradely labeled neurons that project to IL in that hemisphere. By showing that DEn and claustrum have parallel sets of connections, these results suggest that DEn and claustrum perform similar functions in processing limbic and sensorimotor information, respectively. J. Comp. Neurol., 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.