Recoding a cocaine-place memory engram to a neutral engram in the hippocampus

Nat Neurosci. 2016 Apr;19(4):564-7. doi: 10.1038/nn.4250. Epub 2016 Feb 22.


The hippocampus provides the brain's memory system with a subset of neurons holding a map-like representation of each environment experienced. We found in mice that optogenetic silencing those neurons active in an environment unmasked a subset of quiet neurons, enabling the emergence of an alternative map. When applied in a cocaine-paired environment, this intervention neutralized an otherwise long-lasting drug-place preference, showing that recoding a spatial memory engram can alleviate associated maladaptive behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cocaine / administration & dosage*
  • Conditioning, Psychological / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Psychological / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Optogenetics / methods*


  • Cocaine