Temporally selective contextual encoding in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus

Nat Commun. 2014:5:3181. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4181.


A recent model of the hippocampus predicts that the unique properties of the dentate gyrus allow for temporal separation of events. This temporal separation is accomplished in part through the continual generation of new neurons, which, due to a transient window of hyperexcitability, could allow for preferential encoding of information present during their development. Here we obtain in vivo electrophysiological recordings and identify a cell population exhibiting activity that is selective to single contexts when rats experience a long temporal separation between context exposures during training. This selectivity is attenuated as the temporal separation between context exposures is shortened and is further attenuated when neurogenesis is reduced. Our data reveal the existence of a temporal orthogonalizing neuronal code within the dentate gyrus, a hallmark feature of episodic memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dentate Gyrus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Neurogenesis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans