Egocentric coding of external items in the lateral entorhinal cortex

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Science  23 Nov 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6417, pp. 945-949
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau4940

Egocentric representation of objects

The lateral entorhinal cortex (LEC) and medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) are the two major cortical projections to the hippocampus. The discovery of a variety of functional cell types in MEC has greatly advanced our understanding of the functional anatomy of entorhinal-hippocampal circuits. However, the function of LEC and the behavioral correlates of LEC cells are still not fully understood. Wang et al. analyzed the firing properties of LEC and MEC neurons. They found that LEC and MEC used different reference frames, with LEC encoding objects egocentrically.

Science, this issue p. 945


Episodic memory, the conscious recollection of past events, is typically experienced from a first-person (egocentric) perspective. The hippocampus plays an essential role in episodic memory and spatial cognition. Although the allocentric nature of hippocampal spatial coding is well understood, little is known about whether the hippocampus receives egocentric information about external items. We recorded in rats the activity of single neurons from the lateral entorhinal cortex (LEC) and medial entorhinal cortex (MEC), the two major inputs to the hippocampus. Many LEC neurons showed tuning for egocentric bearing of external items, whereas MEC cells tended to represent allocentric bearing. These results demonstrate a fundamental dissociation between the reference frames of LEC and MEC neural representations.

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