The hippocampal formation (HF) of mammals and birds is crucial for spatial learning and memory. However, although the underlying synaptic organization and connectivity of the mammalian HF are well characterized, comparatively little is known about the avian HF. Localized regions of the homing pigeon HF were stimulated at 400-600 μA while evoked field potentials (EFPs) were recorded from adjacent and more distant HF areas relative to the stimulation site. The shortest discernible EFP latency was 12.2 msec. The emerging connectivity profile (using the location of peak EFP amplitude after stimulation and making no determination of the number of intervening synapses) was characterized by projections from the dorsolateral (DL) HF to the dorsomedial (DM) HF (15-msec latency) at the same anterior/posterior (A/P) level, DM to ventrolateral (VL) and ventromedial (VM; 15 msec) HF across A/P levels, VM to VL (12 msec) and contralateral VM (15 msec) at the same A/P level, and VL to ventral DL (DLv; 15 msec) across A/P levels posterior to the stimulation site. Using these data as a first approximation, connectivity through the avian HF appears to be characterized by a discernible feed-forward network starting with a projection from DL to DM, DM to VL, VM, and contralateral VM, VM to VL, and VL to posterior ventral DLv. Although still speculative, the results suggest that the internal connectivity of the avian HF is similar to that of the mammalian HF, despite the large evolutionary divergence between the two taxa.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes