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Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine
Brain and Behaviour (INM-7)

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Mapping hippocampus structure and function by the Cognitive NeuroInformatics Lab

From a phylogenesis standpoint, the hippocampus is among the oldest brain regions.

From histological work, the hippocampus is known to be organized into different subfields arranged along a medial-lateral and a ventro-dorsal axis as illustrated in the figure below:

Hippocampus 1

This simplified representation has been created using the probabilistic maps available in the SPM Anatomy Toolbox. CA refers to Cornu Ammonis, DG and Sub refer to the Dentate Gyrus and the Subiculum, respectively. For more information on the hippocampus microstructure see Amunts et al. 2005, Palomero-Gallagher et al., 2020.

In line with their different microstructural profiles, the different subfields are also known to have different anatomical connections (white matter tracts).

However, functional studies (such as fMRI studies) primarily highlight a differentiation within the hippocampus along the longitudinal axis (that is, the anterior-posterior axis in the human brain).

Hippocampus 2

This functional organization appears to relate to behavioral dimensions. Our work using data-driven approaches support two hypotheses: an emotion-cognition gradient and a self-centric-word-centric processing dimension.

Hippocampus 3

Hence, several organizational dimensions can be seen in the hippocampus. Our work in the healthy adult population shows that the patterns of co-plasticity (that is covariance in morphological measurements between the hippocampus and other brain region) reflect these multiples dimensions:

Hippocampus 4

Nevertheless, neurodenegeration in dementia appears to follows functional differentiation along the longitudinal axis, with posterior regions together differentiating from anterior regions in their co-atrophy patterns in Alzheimer’s disease (Plachti et al., 2020):

Hippocampus 5