Perirhinal cortex is a cortical region in the medial temporal lobe that is made up of Brodmann areas 35 and 36. In rats it is located along and dorsal to the rhinal sulcus. It receives highly processed sensory information from all sensory regions and is generally accepted to be an important region for memory. It is bordered caudally by postrhinal cortex or parahippocampal cortex (homologous regions in rodents and primates, respectively) and ventrally and medially by entorhinal cortex.
The perirhinal cortex is composed of two regions: areas 36 and 35. Area 36 is sometimes divided into three subdivisions: 36d is the most rostral and dorsal, 36r ventral and caudal, and 36c the most caudal. 35 can be divided in the same manner, into 35d and 35v (for dorsal and ventral, respectively).
The monkey perirhinal cortex receives a majority of its input from high-level visual areas, whereas, in the rat, its inputs are primarily olfactory and, to a lesser extent, auditory. Outputs to orbitofrontal cortex and medial prefrontal cortex regions (such as prelimbic and infralimbic) have been described. Perirhinal cortex also sends output to a number of subcortical structures, including the basal ganglia, the thalamus, the basal forebrain, and the amygdala. It also has direct connections with hippocampus region CA1 and the subiculum.
Visual areas TE and TEO send and receive a significant reciprocal connection with perirhinal cotex. Weaker, but still significant, projections come from other parahippocampal regions and from the superior temporal sulcus. Other inputs include anterior cingulate and insular regions, in addition to prefrontal projections.
Auditory inputs from temporal cortical regions are the primary inputs to rat 36d, with visual inputs becoming more prominent closer to the postrhinal cortical border. Area 36d projects to 36v and then to 35, which forms the primary output region of perirhinal cortex. Inputs to area 35 more strongly reflect olfactory and gustatory inputs from piriform and insular cortices, in addition to inputs from entorhinal cortex and frontal regions.
- Witter MP and Wouterlood F. 2002. The parahippocampal region: organization and role in cognitive function. Oxford University Press: New York.