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Unstable CA1 place cell representation in rats with entorhinal cortex lesions

Authors

  • Tiffany Van Cauter,

    1. Laboratory of Neurobiology and Cognition, UMR 6155 CNRS–Aix-Marseille Université, Pôle 3C, 3 place Victor Hugo, 13331 Marseille Cedex 3, France
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  • Bruno Poucet,

    1. Laboratory of Neurobiology and Cognition, UMR 6155 CNRS–Aix-Marseille Université, Pôle 3C, 3 place Victor Hugo, 13331 Marseille Cedex 3, France
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  • Etienne Save

    1. Laboratory of Neurobiology and Cognition, UMR 6155 CNRS–Aix-Marseille Université, Pôle 3C, 3 place Victor Hugo, 13331 Marseille Cedex 3, France
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Dr E. Save, as above.
E-mail: etienne.save@univ-provence.fr

Abstract

Recent studies emphasize the importance of the entorhinal cortex in spatial representation and navigation. Furthermore, evidence is accumulating to show that spatial processing depends on interactions between the entorhinal cortex and the hippocampus. To investigate these interactions, we examined the effects of entorhinal cortex lesions on the activity of hippocampal CA1 place cells. Rats received bilateral radiofrequency lesions of the entorhinal cortex or sham lesions before place cell recording. Place cells were recorded as the rats performed a pellet-chasing task in a cylinder containing three cue-objects. Entorhinal cortex lesions did not abolish place cell spatial firing but reduced noticeably discharge rate and field size. Most importantly, the lesions affected firing field stability when cells were recorded both in constant conditions and following cue manipulations (object rotation, object removal). These findings indicate that the entorhinal cortex is necessary for the stability of hippocampal representations across exposures to a familiar environment. Consistent with the recent discovery of grid cells in the medial entorhinal cortex, our results suggest that the entorhinal cortex contributes to providing a spatial framework that would enable the hippocampus to maintain stable environment-specific representations.

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