Recurrent amplification of grid-cell activity
Tiziano D’Albis and Richard Kempter
High‐level cognitive abilities such as navigation and spatial memory are thought to rely on the activity of grid cells in the medial entorhinal cortex (MEC), which encode the animal’s position in space with periodic triangular patterns. Yet the neural mechanisms that underlie grid‐cell activity are still unknown. Recent in vitro and in vivo experiments indicate that grid cells are embedded in highly structured recurrent networks. But how could recurrent connectivity become structured during development? And what is the functional role of these connections? With mathematical modeling and simulations, we show that recurrent circuits in the MEC could emerge under the supervision of weakly grid‐tuned feedforward inputs. We demonstrate that a learned excitatory connectivity could amplify grid patterns when the feedforward sensory inputs are available and sustain attractor states when the sensory cues are lost. Finally, we propose a Fourier‐based measure to quantify the spatial periodicity of grid patterns: the grid‐tuning index.
Hippocampus. 30(12):1268-1297 (2020)