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J Neurophysiol. 2010 Jul;104(1):258-70. doi: 10.1152/jn.00492.2009. Epub 2010 May 5.

Cholinergic modulation of the resonance properties of stellate cells in layer II of medial entorhinal cortex.

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  • 1Center for Memory and Brain, Program in Neuroscience, and Psychology Department, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


In vitro whole cell patch-clamp recordings of stellate cells in layer II of medial entorhinal cortex show a subthreshold membrane potential resonance in response to a sinusoidal current injection of varying frequency. Physiological recordings from awake behaving animals show that neurons in layer II medial entorhinal cortex, termed "grid cells," fire in a spatially selective manner such that each cell's multiple firing fields form a hexagonal grid. Both the spatial periodicity of the grid fields and the resonance frequency change systematically in neurons along the dorsal to ventral axis of medial entorhinal cortex. Previous work has also shown that grid field spacing and acetylcholine levels change as a function of the novelty to a particular environment. Using in vitro whole cell patch-clamp recordings, our study shows that both resonance frequency and resonance strength vary as a function of cholinergic modulation. Furthermore, our data suggest that these changes in resonance properties are mediated through modulation of h-current and m-current.

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