Intrinsic electrophysiological properties of entorhinal cortex stellate cells and their contribution to grid cell firing fields

Hugh Pastoll, Helen L. Ramsden, Matthew F. Nolan

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The medial entorhinal contex (MEC) is an increasingly important focus for investigation of mechanisms for spatial representation. Grid cells found in layer II of the MEC are likely to be stellate cells, which form a major projection to the dentate gyrus. Entorhinal stellate cells are distinguished by distinct intrinsic electrophysiological properties, but how these properties contribute to representation of space is not yet clear. Here, we review the ionic conductances, synaptic, and excitable properties of stellate cells, and examine thier implication for models of grid firing fields. We discuss why existing data are inconsistent with models of grid fields that require stellate cells to generate periodic oscillation. An alternate possibility is that the intrinsic electrophysiological properties of stellate cells are tuned specifically to control integration of synaptic input. We highlight recent evidence that the dorsal-ventra; organization of synaptic integraiton by stellate cells, through differences in currents mediated by HCN and leak potassium channels, influences the corresponding organization of grid fields. Because accurate cellular data will be important for distinguishing mechanisms for generation of grid fields, we introduce new date comparing properties measured with whole-cell and perforated patch-clamp recordings. We find that clustered patterns of action potential firing and the action potential after-hyperpolarization (AHP) are particularly sensitive to recording condition. Neverthless, with both methods, these properties, resting membrane properties and resonance follow a dorsal-ventral organization. Further investigation of the molecular basis for synaptic integration by stellate cells will be important for understanding mechanisms for generation of grid fields.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages21
JournalFrontiers in neural circuits
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2012


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