Are hippocampal place cells controlled by theta brain waves from grid cells?

This 2015 Canadian rodent study tried to establish that grid cells in the medial entorhinal cortex generated brain waves in the theta frequency range that controlled place cells in the hippocampus part of the limbic system.

The researchers stated:

“Our results deviate from the prediction.”

but a commentary Do the spatial frequencies of grid cells mold the firing fields of place cells? said the researchers:

“Obtained fascinating results, largely supporting the model.”

What’s fascinating to me is the volume of studies on the hippocampus that ignore its position as the seat of emotional memories. Human experiments involving the hippocampus are usually designed to not contain any emotional content.

Two studies showed functions of hippocampal place cells:

A summary study of 118 other studies What do grid cells contribute to place cell firing? provided additional information on grid cells and hippocampal place cells, head direction cells, boundary cells, and cells that encode object locations.

The summary study related to the current study by stating that the research through early 2014 arguably found:

“Grid and place cell firing patterns are not successive stages of a processing hierarchy, but complementary and interacting representations that work in combination.” “Place field expansion after focal MEC inactivations is consistent with loss of Fourier components and path integrator gain reduction”

2 thoughts on “Are hippocampal place cells controlled by theta brain waves from grid cells?

  1. Scientists all over the world are spending millions of dollars on researching the brain by analysing the working parts. What they cannot see through their microscopes is what the brain is experiencing. For that they need to spend six months in primal therapy so that they understand what a feeling is, and how powerful imprints control our daily lives. Only then will our understanding of mental illness take the huge leap that is necessary
    The above research is a wonderful example of intellectualism ‘gone mad; while leaving feelings out of the frame altogether,
    Gil Bates

    • Exactly, Gil!
      All of the above research builds up to memories of places. All of us have many, many emotional memories that are anchored in a specific place.
      But when human research is done on memories of places, the study designs usually leave out emotional content.

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