Converging evidence from human and rodent studies suggests that disrupted grid cell coding in the medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) underlies path integration behavioral deficits during early Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, grid cell firing relies on both self-motion cues and environmental features, and it remains unclear whether disrupted grid coding can account for specific path integration deficits reported during early AD. Here, we report in the J20 transgenic amyloid beta (Aβ) mouse model of early AD that grid cells were spatially unstable toward the center of the arena, had qualitatively different spatial components that aligned parallel to the borders of the environment, and exhibited impaired integration of distance traveled via reduced theta phase precession. Our results suggest that disrupted early AD grid coding reflects reduced integration of self-motion cues but not environmental information via geometric boundaries, providing evidence that grid cell impairments underlie path integration deficits during early AD.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Fourier analysis; amyloid beta; environmental geometry; grid cells; medial entorhinal cortex; path integration; spatial navigation; spatial stability; theta phase precession.
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