Grid-Layout and Theta-Modulation of Layer 2 Pyramidal Neurons in Medial Entorhinal Cortex

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Science  23 Jan 2014:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1243028

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Little is known about how microcircuits are organized in layer 2 of medial entorhinal cortex. We visualized principal cell microcircuits and determined cellular theta-rhythmicity in freely moving rats. Non-dentate-projecting calbindin-positive pyramidal cells bundled dendrites together and formed patches arranged in a hexagonal grid aligned to layer 1 axons, parasubiculum and cholinergic inputs. Calbindin-negative dentate-gyrus-projecting stellate cells were distributed across layer 2 but avoided centers of calbindin-positive patches. Cholinergic drive sustained theta-rhythmicity, which was two-fold stronger in pyramidal than in stellate neurons. Theta-rhythmicity was cell-type specific, but not distributed as expected from cell-intrinsic properties. Layer 2 divides into a weakly theta-locked stellate cell lattice and spatiotemporally highly organized pyramidal grid. It needs to be assessed how these two distinct principal cell networks contribute to grid cell activity.

  • Present Address: Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience, Otfried-Müller-strasse 25, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.

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