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J Neurosci. 2012 Dec 5;32(49):17620-31. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3526-12.2012.

All layers of medial entorhinal cortex receive presubicular and parasubicular inputs.

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Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, Centre for the Biology of Memory, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU, NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway.


The medial entorhinal cortex (MEC), presubiculum (PrS), and parasubiculum (PaS) are interconnected components of the hippocampal-parahippocampal spatial-representation system. Principal cells in all layers of MEC show signs of directional tuning, overt in head direction cells present in all layers except for layer II, and covert in grid cells, which are the major spatially modulated cell type in layer II. Directional information likely originates in the head direction-vestibular system and PrS and PaS are thought to provide this information to MEC. Efferents from PaS and PrS show a selective laminar terminal distribution in MEC superficial layers II and III, respectively. We hypothesized that this anatomically determined laminar distribution does not preclude monosynaptic interaction with neurons located in deeper layers of MEC in view of the extensive apical dendrites from deeper cells reaching layers II and III. This hypothesis was tested in the rat using tilted in vitro slices in which origins and terminations of PrS and PaS fibers were maintained, as assessed using anterograde anatomical tracing. Based on voltage-sensitive dye imaging, multipatch single-cell recordings, and scanning photostimulation of caged glutamate, we report first that principal neurons in all layers of MEC receive convergent monosynaptic inputs from PrS and PaS and second, that elicited responses show layer-specific decay times and frequency-dependent facilitation. These results indicate that regardless of their selective laminar terminal distribution, PrS and PaS inputs may monosynaptically convey directional information to principal neurons in all layers of MEC through synapses on their extensive dendritic arbors.

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