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Local morphology informs location of activation during navigation within the parahippocampal region of the human brain


The relationship between the local morphological features that define the entorhinal and parahippocampal cortex in the medial temporal region of the human brain and activation as measured during a navigation task with functional magnetic resonance imaging was examined individually in healthy participants. Two functional activation clusters were identified one within the caudal end of the collateral sulcus proper and the other in the parahippocampal extension of the collateral sulcus, clearly establishing the activation in the posterior parahippocampal cortex. A third activation cluster was identified where the anterior segment of the collateral sulcus proper gives way to the posterior segment, demonstrating also activation within the middle parahippocampal cortex. No activation was observed in the entorhinal cortex that lies medial to the rhinal sulcus or in the anterior part of the parahippocampal cortex along the anterior branch of the collateral sulcus proper. The activations could also be clearly differentiated from the cortex of the fusiform and lingual gyri that lie laterally and posteriorly. These findings demonstrated specific activation in the middle and posterior part of the parahippocampal cortex when information necessary for navigation was retrieved from a previously established cognitive map and demonstrate that the sulci that comprise the collateral sulcal complex represent important landmarks that can provide an accurate localization of activation foci along the parahippocampal cortex and allow identification of subdivisions involved in the processing of spatial information.

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The authors thank Rhonda Amsel and Veronika Zlatkina for helpful discussions on the project.

Author information

Correspondence to S. C. Huntgeburth.

Ethics declarations

The authors declare that they have no competing financial or non-financial interests. All research was conducted in compliance with ethical standards.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


The research was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) grant MOP-64271 to AP and MP, and CIHR Foundation FDN-143212 grant to MP.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Huntgeburth, S.C., Chen, J., Ptito, A. et al. Local morphology informs location of activation during navigation within the parahippocampal region of the human brain. Brain Struct Funct 222, 1581–1596 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-016-1293-y

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  • fMRI
  • Parahippocampal gyrus
  • Spatial memory
  • Navigation
  • Morphology
  • Human brain