The distinctive firing pattern of grid cells in the medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) supports its role in the representation of space. It is widely believed that the hexagonal firing field of grid cells emerges from neural dynamics that depend on the local microcircuitry. However, local networks within the MEC are still not sufficiently characterized. Here, applying up to eight simultaneous whole-cell recordings in acute brain slices, we demonstrate the existence of unitary excitatory connections between principal neurons in the superficial layers of the MEC. In particular, we find prevalent feed-forward excitation from pyramidal neurons in layer III and layer II onto stellate cells in layer II, which might contribute to the generation or the inheritance of grid cell patterns.
Keywords: connectivity; excitatory neuron; grid cell; medial entorhinal cortex; neuronal network; pyramidal cell; stellate cell.
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