The transformation of grid to place cells is robust to noise in the grid pattern
© Azizi and Cheng; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014
Published: 21 July 2014
The neural mechanisms of spatial navigation in rodents are thought to rest on place-selective cells in the hippocampus and/ or medial entorhinal cortex (MEC). These cells have been suggested to be the basis for a cognitive map of the animal's environment and for path integration. However, despite large body of theoretical work, it remains unsettled how the neural responses of hippocampal place cells and the grid cells in MEC are generated. Given the massive projections from the superficial MEC to the hippocampal CA regions, which host the place cells, it was initially postulated that grid cells drive the spatial responses of place cells. The transformation was modeled as a linear weighted summation of input grid cells into place cells firing. Different strategies was used to implement the connecting weights (see  for a generalized model and review of earlier models).
These robust cases include grid perturbations due to noise in the path integration mechanism that gives rise to grid cell responses and noise in the alignment of the three main axes of the grids. Although these two cases are conceptually quite different, many results are quite similar. Even if current experimental data suggest the involvement of other inputs in driving place cell responses, our work shows that the simple idea that grid cells drive spatial responses of place cells cannot be ruled out at this point.
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