What do grid cells contribute to place cell firing?

Trends Neurosci. 2014 Mar;37(3):136-45. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2013.12.003. Epub 2014 Jan 30.


The unitary firing fields of hippocampal place cells are commonly assumed to be generated by input from entorhinal grid cell modules with differing spatial scales. Here, we review recent research that brings this assumption into doubt. Instead, we propose that place cell spatial firing patterns are determined by environmental sensory inputs, including those representing the distance and direction to environmental boundaries, while grid cells provide a complementary self-motion related input that contributes to maintaining place cell firing. In this view, grid and place cell firing patterns are not successive stages of a processing hierarchy, but complementary and interacting representations that work in combination to support the reliable coding of large-scale space.

Keywords: border cells; boundary vector cells; grid cells; hippocampus; place cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Entorhinal Cortex / cytology*
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Spatial Behavior / physiology*