Distance coding strategies based on the entorhinal grid cell system

Zsófia Huhn, Zoltán Somogyvári, Tamás Kiss, Péter Érdi

Research output: Article

6 Citations (Scopus)


Estimating and keeping track of the distance from salient points of the environment are important constituents of the spatial awareness and navigation. In rodents, the majority of principal cells in the hippocampus are known to be correlated with the position of the animal. However, the lack of topography in the hippocampal cognitive map does not support the assumption that connections between these cells are able to store and recall distances between coded positions. In contrast, the firing fields of the grid cells in the medial entorhinal cortex form triangular grids and are organized on metrical principles. We suggest a model in which a hypothesized 'distance cell' population is able to extract metrics from the activity of grid cells. We show that storing the momentary activity pattern of the grid cell system in a freely chosen position by one-shot learning and comparing it to the actual grid activity at other positions results in a distance dependent activity of these cells. The actual distance of the animal from the origin can be decoded directly by selecting the distance cell receiving the largest excitation or indirectly via transmission of local interneurons. We found that direct decoding works up to the longest grid spacing, but fails on smaller scales, while the indirect way provides precise distance determination up to the half of the longest grid spacing. In both cases, simulated distance cells have a multi-peaked, patchy spatial activity pattern consistent with the experimentally observed behavior of granule cells in the dentate gyrus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-543
Number of pages8
JournalNeural Networks
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - júl. 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Distance coding strategies based on the entorhinal grid cell system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this