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Place Cell Networks in Pre-weanling Rats Show Associative Memory Properties from the Onset of Exploratory Behavior

Muessig, L; Hauser, J; Wills, TJ; Cacucci, F; (2016) Place Cell Networks in Pre-weanling Rats Show Associative Memory Properties from the Onset of Exploratory Behavior. Cerebral Cortex , 26 (8) 10.1093/cercor/bhw174. Green open access

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Abstract

Place cells are hippocampal pyramidal cells that are active when an animal visits a restricted area of the environment, and collectively their activity constitutes a neural representation of space. Place cell populations in the adult rat hippocampus display fundamental properties consistent with an associative memory network: the ability to 1) generate new and distinct spatial firing patterns when encountering novel spatial contexts or changes in sensory input ("remapping") and 2) reinstate previously stored firing patterns when encountering a familiar context, including on the basis of an incomplete/degraded set of sensory cues ("pattern completion"). To date, it is unknown when these spatial memory responses emerge during brain development. Here, we show that, from the age of first exploration (postnatal day 16) onwards, place cell populations already exhibit these key features: they generate new representations upon exposure to a novel context and can reactivate familiar representations on the basis of an incomplete set of sensory cues. These results demonstrate that, as early as exploratory behaviors emerge, and despite the absence of an adult-like grid cell network, the developing hippocampus processes incoming sensory information as an associative memory network.

Type: Article
Title: Place Cell Networks in Pre-weanling Rats Show Associative Memory Properties from the Onset of Exploratory Behavior
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhw174
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhw174
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0) (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: development, hippocampus, memory, place cell
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Cell and Developmental Biology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Neuro, Physiology and Pharmacology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1495932
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