Altered neural odometry in the vertical dimension

Casali, G., Bush, D. and Jeffery, K. (2019) Altered neural odometry in the vertical dimension. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(10), pp. 4631-4636. (doi: 10.1073/pnas.1811867116) (PMID:30770450) (PMCID:PMC6410878)

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Entorhinal grid cells integrate sensory and self-motion inputs to provide a spatial metric of a characteristic scale. One function of this metric may be to help localize the firing fields of hippocampal place cells during formation and use of the hippocampal spatial representation (“cognitive map”). Of theoretical importance is the question of how this metric, and the resulting map, is configured in 3D space. We find here that when the body plane is vertical as rats climb a wall, grid cells produce stable, almost-circular grid-cell firing fields. This contrasts with previous findings when the body was aligned horizontally during vertical exploration, suggesting a role for the body plane in orienting the plane of the grid cell map. However, in the present experiment, the fields on the wall were fewer and larger, suggesting an altered or absent odometric (distance-measuring) process. Several physiological indices of running speed in the entorhinal cortex showed reduced gain, which may explain the enlarged grid pattern. Hippocampal place fields were found to be sparser but unchanged in size/shape. Together, these observations suggest that the orientation and scale of the grid cell map, at least on a surface, are determined by an interaction between egocentric information (the body plane) and allocentric information (the gravity axis). This may be mediated by the different sensory or locomotor information available on a vertical surface and means that the resulting map has different properties on a vertical plane than a horizontal plane (i.e., is anisotropic).

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Jeffery, Professor Kate
Authors: Casali, G., Bush, D., and Jeffery, K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Publisher:National Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Online):1091-6490
Published Online:15 February 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 116(10): 4631-4636
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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