Cell Type-Specific Differences in Spike Timing and Spike Shape in the Rat Parasubiculum and Superficial Medial Entorhinal Cortex

Cell Rep. 2016 Jul 26;16(4):1005-1015. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.06.057. Epub 2016 Jul 14.


The medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) and the adjacent parasubiculum are known for their elaborate spatial discharges (grid cells, border cells, etc.) and the precessing of spikes relative to the local field potential. We know little, however, about how spatio-temporal firing patterns map onto cell types. We find that cell type is a major determinant of spatio-temporal discharge properties. Parasubicular neurons and MEC layer 2 (L2) pyramids have shorter spikes, discharge spikes in bursts, and are theta-modulated (rhythmic, locking, skipping), but spikes phase-precess only weakly. MEC L2 stellates and layer 3 (L3) neurons have longer spikes, do not discharge in bursts, and are weakly theta-modulated (non-rhythmic, weakly locking, rarely skipping), but spikes steeply phase-precess. The similarities between MEC L3 neurons and MEC L2 stellates on one hand and parasubicular neurons and MEC L2 pyramids on the other hand suggest two distinct streams of temporal coding in the parahippocampal cortex.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Theta Rhythm / physiology*