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Journal Article

Hexadirectional modulation of high-frequency electrophysiological activity in the human anterior medial temporal lobe maps visual space


Doeller,  Christian F.
Egil and Pauline Braathen and Fred Kavli Centre for Cortical Microcircuits, Kavli Institute, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway;
Department Psychology (Doeller), MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Staudigl, T., Leszczynski, M., Jacobs, J., Sheth, S. A., Schroeder, C. E., Jensen, O., et al. (2018). Hexadirectional modulation of high-frequency electrophysiological activity in the human anterior medial temporal lobe maps visual space. Current Biology, 28(20), 3325-3329.e1–e4. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2018.09.035.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-6B21-1
Grid cells are one of the core building blocks of spatial navigation [1]. Single-cell recordings of grid cells in the rodent entorhinal cortex revealed hexagonal coding of the local environment during spatial navigation [1]. Grid-like activity has also been identified in human single-cell recordings during virtual navigation [2]. Human fMRI studies further provide evidence that grid-like signals are also accessible on a macroscopic level [3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Studies in both non-human primates [8] and humans [9, 10] suggest that grid-like coding in the entorhinal cortex generalizes beyond spatial navigation during locomotion, providing evidence for grid-like mapping of visual space during visual exploration—akin to the grid cell positional code in rodents during spatial navigation. However, electrophysiological correlates of the grid code in humans remain unknown. Here, we provide evidence for grid-like, hexadirectional coding of visual space by human high-frequency activity, based on two independent datasets: non-invasive magnetoencephalography (MEG) in healthy subjects and entorhinal intracranial electroencephalography (EEG) recordings in an epileptic patient. Both datasets consistently show a hexadirectional modulation of broadband high-frequency activity (60–120 Hz). Our findings provide first evidence for a grid-like MEG signal, indicating that the human entorhinal cortex codes visual space in a grid-like manner [8, 9, 10], and support the view that grid coding generalizes beyond environmental mapping during locomotion [4, 5, 6, 11]. Due to their millisecond accuracy, MEG recordings allow linking of grid-like activity to epochs during relevant behavior, thereby opening up the possibility for new MEG-based investigations of grid coding at high temporal resolution.