Spatial representation in the hippocampal formation: a history

Abstract

Since the first place cell was recorded and the cognitive-map theory was subsequently formulated, investigation of spatial representation in the hippocampal formation has evolved in stages. Early studies sought to verify the spatial nature of place cell activity and determine its sensory origin. A new epoch started with the discovery of head direction cells and the realization of the importance of angular and linear movement-integration in generating spatial maps. A third epoch began when investigators turned their attention to the entorhinal cortex, which led to the discovery of grid cells and border cells. This review will show how ideas about integration of self-motion cues have shaped our understanding of spatial representation in hippocampal–entorhinal systems from the 1970s until today. It is now possible to investigate how specialized cell types of these systems work together, and spatial mapping may become one of the first cognitive functions to be understood in mechanistic detail.

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Figure 1
Figure 2: Place cells.
Figure 3: Head direction cells6.
Figure 4: Ensemble recording technology.
Figure 5: Path integration.
Figure 6: Remapping.
Figure 7: Grid cells and other functional cell types of the MEC.

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Acknowledgements

The work was supported by two Advanced Investigator Grants from the European Research Council (GRIDCODE – grant no. 338865 to E.I.M.; 'ENSEMBLE', Grant Agreement no. 268598, to M.-B.M.), and by the Centre of Excellence scheme of the Research Council of Norway (Centre for Neural Computation, grant number 223262 to M.-B.M. and E.I.M.), the Kavli Foundation (M.-B.M. and E.I.M.), and National Science Foundation Grant 1631465 to B.L.M.

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Moser, E., Moser, M. & McNaughton, B. Spatial representation in the hippocampal formation: a history. Nat Neurosci 20, 1448–1464 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.4653

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