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

Neuron. 2017 Apr 5;94(1):83-92.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.03.004. Epub 2017 Mar 23.


The medial entorhinal cortex (mEC) has been identified as a hub for spatial information processing by the discovery of grid, border, and head-direction cells. Here we find that in addition to these well-characterized classes, nearly all of the remaining two-thirds of mEC cells can be categorized as spatially selective. We refer to these cells as nongrid spatial cells and confirmed that their spatial firing patterns were unrelated to running speed and highly reproducible within the same environment. However, in response to manipulations of environmental features, such as box shape or box color, nongrid spatial cells completely reorganized their spatial firing patterns. At the same time, grid cells retained their spatial alignment and predominantly responded with redistributed firing rates across their grid fields. Thus, mEC contains a joint representation of both spatial and environmental feature content, with specialized cell types showing different types of integrated coding of multimodal information.

Keywords: border cells; entorhinal cortex; grid cells; hippocampus; memory; nongrid cells; place cell; remapping; spatial navigation.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Entorhinal Cortex / cytology
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiology*
  • Environment
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Spatial Memory / physiology*
  • Spatial Navigation / physiology*
  • Spatial Processing / physiology*