Cellular components and circuitry of the presubiculum and its functional role in the head direction system

Cell Tissue Res. 2018 Sep;373(3):541-556. doi: 10.1007/s00441-018-2841-y. Epub 2018 May 22.


Orientation in space is a fundamental cognitive process relying on brain-wide neuronal circuits. Many neurons in the presubiculum in the parahippocampal region encode head direction and each head direction cell selectively discharges when the animal faces a specific direction. Here, we attempt to link the current knowledge of afferent and efferent connectivity of the presubiculum to the processing of the head direction signal. We describe the cytoarchitecture of the presubicular six-layered cortex and the morphological and electrophysiological intrinsic properties of principal neurons and interneurons. While the presubicular head direction signal depends on synaptic input from thalamus, the intra- and interlaminar information flow in the microcircuit of the presubiculum may contribute to refine directional tuning. The interaction of a specific interneuron type, the Martinotti cells, with the excitatory pyramidal cells may maintain the head direction signal in the presubiculum with attractor-like properties.

Keywords: Head direction; Hippocampus; Microcircuit; Patch clamp; Postsubiculum.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / chemistry*
  • Interneurons / metabolism
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Neurons / chemistry*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Parahippocampal Gyrus / anatomy & histology*
  • Parahippocampal Gyrus / physiology*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Thalamus / anatomy & histology
  • Thalamus / physiology