The medial entorhinal cortex is necessary for temporal organization of hippocampal neuronal activity

Nature Neuroscience
Magdalene Isabell SchlesigerStefan Leutgeb

Abstract

The superficial layers of the medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) are a major input to the hippocampus. The high proportion of spatially modulated cells, including grid cells and border cells, in these layers suggests that MEC inputs are critical for the representation of space in the hippocampus. However, selective manipulations of the MEC do not completely abolish hippocampal spatial firing. To determine whether other hippocampal firing characteristics depend more critically on MEC inputs, we recorded from hippocampal CA1 cells in rats with MEC lesions. Theta phase precession was substantially disrupted, even during periods of stable spatial firing. Our findings indicate that MEC inputs to the hippocampus are required for the temporal organization of hippocampal firing patterns and suggest that cognitive functions that depend on precise neuronal sequences in the hippocampal theta cycle are particularly dependent on the MEC.

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