The Role of Path Integration on Neural Activity in Hippocampus and Medial Entorhinal Cortex
AdvisorMcNaughton, Bruce L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis thesis explores the role of path integration on the firing of hippocampal place cells and medial entorhinal grid cells. Grid cells fire at equidistant locations in an environment, indicating that they keep track of the distance and direction an animal has moved in an environment. One class of model of path integration uses a continuous attractor network to update position information. The first part of this thesis showed that such a network can generate a "look-ahead" of neural activity that sweeps through the positions just visited and about to be visited, on the short time scale that is observedin vivo. Adding intrinsic currents to the neurons in the network model allowed this look-ahead to recur every theta cycle, and generate grid fields of a size comparable to data. Grid cells are a major input the hippocampus, and are hypothesized to be the source of the place specificity of place cells. When an animal explores an open environment, place cells are active in a particular location regardless of the direction in which the animal travels through it. While performing a specific task, such as visiting specific locations in the environment in sequence, however, most place cells are active only in one direction. The second part of this thesis studied the development of this directionality. It was determined that upon the initial appearance of place fields in a novel environment, place cells fired in all directions, supporting the hypothesis that the path integration is the primary determinant of place specificity. The directionality of place fields developed gradually, possibly as a result of learning. Ideas about how this directionality could develop are explored.
Degree ProgramGraduate College