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Nat Commun. 2017 May 26;8:15602. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15602.

Perirhinal firing patterns are sustained across large spatial segments of the task environment.

Author information

Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, Center for Neuroscience, Faculty of Science, University of Amsterdam, 1098 XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Research Priority Program Brain and Cognition, University of Amsterdam, 1098 XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Ernst Strüngmann Institute for Neuroscience in Cooperation with Max Planck Society, Deutschordenstraße 46, 60528 Frankfurt, Germany.
Medtronic, 7000 Central Avenue NE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55432, USA.
Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, Centre for Neural Computation, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, DMF, NTNU PO Box 8905, NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway.


Spatial navigation and memory depend on the neural coding of an organism's location. Fine-grained coding of location is thought to depend on the hippocampus. Likewise, animals benefit from knowledge parsing their environment into larger spatial segments, which are relevant for task performance. Here we investigate how such knowledge may be coded, and whether this occurs in structures in the temporal lobe, supplying cortical inputs to the hippocampus. We found that neurons in the perirhinal cortex of rats generate sustained firing patterns that discriminate large segments of the task environment. This contrasted to transient firing in hippocampus and sensory neocortex. These spatially extended patterns were not explained by task variables or temporally discrete sensory stimuli. Previously it has been suggested that the perirhinal cortex is part of a pathway processing object, but not spatial information. Our results indicate a greater complexity of neural coding than captured by this dichotomy.

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