Neural Dynamics Indicate Parallel Integration of Environmental and Self-Motion Information by Place and Grid Cells

Frontiers in Neural Circuits
Dmitri Laptev, Neil Burgess


Place cells and grid cells in the hippocampal formation are thought to integrate sensory and self-motion information into a representation of estimated spatial location, but the precise mechanism is unknown. We simulated a parallel attractor system in which place cells form an attractor network driven by environmental inputs and grid cells form an attractor network performing path integration driven by self-motion, with inter-connections between them allowing both types of input to influence firing in both ensembles. We show that such a system is needed to explain the spatial patterns and temporal dynamics of place cell firing when rats run on a linear track in which the familiar correspondence between environmental and self-motion inputs is changed. In contrast, the alternative architecture of a single recurrent network of place cells (performing path integration and receiving environmental inputs) cannot reproduce the place cell firing dynamics. These results support the hypothesis that grid and place cells provide two different but complementary attractor representations (based on self-motion and environmental sensory inputs, respectively). Our results also indicate the specific neural mechanism and main predictors of hippoc...Continue Reading


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