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Neurosci Res. 2018 Apr;129:2-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neures.2017.04.016. Epub 2017 May 3.

Prefrontal-hippocampal interactions for spatial navigation.

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Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Max-von-Laue Str. 4, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Electronic address:


Animals have the ability to navigate to a desired location by making use of information about environmental landmarks and their own movements. While decades of neuroscience research have identified neurons in the hippocampus and parahippocampal structures that represent an animal's position in space, it is still largely unclear how an animal can choose the next movement direction to reach a desired goal. As the goal destination is typically located somewhere outside of the range of sensory perception, the animal is required to rely on the internal metric of space to estimate the direction and distance of the destination to plan a next action. Therefore, the hippocampal spatial map should interact with action-planning systems in other cortical regions. In accordance with this idea, several recent studies have indicated the importance of functional interactions between the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex for goal-directed navigation. In this paper, I will review these studies and discuss how an animal can estimate its future positions correspond to a next movement. Investigation of the navigation problem may further provide general insights into internal models of the brain for action planning.


Hippocampus; Prefrontal cortex; Spatial navigation

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