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J Neurosci. 2007 May 23;27(21):5787-95.

Disambiguation of overlapping experiences by neurons in the medial entorhinal cortex.

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Department of Psychology, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Hippocampal neuronal activity distinguishes separate events that share common elements. Here, we examined whether the capacity to disambiguate overlapping experiences is an exclusive feature of hippocampal processing or whether information processing one stage earlier in the hippocampal system also disambiguates common elements of distinct experiences. We compared the spatial firing patterns of neurons in the dorsocaudal medial entorhinal cortex (dcMEC) and hippocampal CA1 neurons in animals continuously alternating left-turn and right-turn routes through a T-maze. Neurons in the dcMEC more strongly distinguished left-turn from right-turn trials compared with CA1 neurons, whereas CA1 neurons more selectivity encoded places traversed within each route. These results indicate that dcMEC spatial firing patterns are experience dependent and reflect the mnemonic demands of a spatial memory task. Furthermore, the results suggest that neuronal populations in the dcMEC and CA1 differentially emphasize complementary aspects of spatial memory representations.

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