Excitatory microcircuits within superficial layers of the medial entorhinal cortex

Winterer, Jochen and Maier, Nikolaus and Wozny, Christian and Beed, Prateep and Breustedt, Jörg and Evangelista, Roberta and Peng, Yangfan and D'Albis, Tiziano and Kempter, Richard and Schmitz, Dietmar (2017) Excitatory microcircuits within superficial layers of the medial entorhinal cortex. Cell Reports, 19 (6). pp. 1110-1116. ISSN 2211-1247

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    Abstract

    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 depends 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.