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      Grid and Nongrid Cells in Medial Entorhinal Cortex Represent Spatial Location and Environmental Features with Complementary Coding Schemes

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      Neuron

      Elsevier BV

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          Microstructure of a spatial map in the entorhinal cortex.

          The ability to find one's way depends on neural algorithms that integrate information about place, distance and direction, but the implementation of these operations in cortical microcircuits is poorly understood. Here we show that the dorsocaudal medial entorhinal cortex (dMEC) contains a directionally oriented, topographically organized neural map of the spatial environment. Its key unit is the 'grid cell', which is activated whenever the animal's position coincides with any vertex of a regular grid of equilateral triangles spanning the surface of the environment. Grids of neighbouring cells share a common orientation and spacing, but their vertex locations (their phases) differ. The spacing and size of individual fields increase from dorsal to ventral dMEC. The map is anchored to external landmarks, but persists in their absence, suggesting that grid cells may be part of a generalized, path-integration-based map of the spatial environment.
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            Memory, navigation and theta rhythm in the hippocampal-entorhinal system.

            Theories on the functions of the hippocampal system are based largely on two fundamental discoveries: the amnestic consequences of removing the hippocampus and associated structures in the famous patient H.M. and the observation that spiking activity of hippocampal neurons is associated with the spatial position of the rat. In the footsteps of these discoveries, many attempts were made to reconcile these seemingly disparate functions. Here we propose that mechanisms of memory and planning have evolved from mechanisms of navigation in the physical world and hypothesize that the neuronal algorithms underlying navigation in real and mental space are fundamentally the same. We review experimental data in support of this hypothesis and discuss how specific firing patterns and oscillatory dynamics in the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus can support both navigation and memory.
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              Conjunctive representation of position, direction, and velocity in entorhinal cortex.

              Grid cells in the medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) are part of an environment-independent spatial coordinate system. To determine how information about location, direction, and distance is integrated in the grid-cell network, we recorded from each principal cell layer of MEC in rats that explored two-dimensional environments. Whereas layer II was predominated by grid cells, grid cells colocalized with head-direction cells and conjunctive grid x head-direction cells in the deeper layers. All cell types were modulated by running speed. The conjunction of positional, directional, and translational information in a single MEC cell type may enable grid coordinates to be updated during self-motion-based navigation.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Neuron
                Neuron
                Elsevier BV
                08966273
                April 2017
                April 2017
                : 94
                : 1
                : 83-92.e6
                Article
                10.1016/j.neuron.2017.03.004
                © 2017

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