Distinct Contribution of Adult-Born Hippocampal Granule Cells to Context Encoding

Neuron. 2016 Apr 6;90(1):101-12. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.02.019. Epub 2016 Mar 10.


Adult-born granule cells (abGCs) have been implicated in cognition and mood; however, it remains unknown how these cells behave in vivo. Here, we have used two-photon calcium imaging to monitor the activity of young abGCs in awake behaving mice. We find that young adult-born neurons fire at a higher rate in vivo but paradoxically exhibit less spatial tuning than their mature counterparts. When presented with different contexts, mature granule cells underwent robust remapping of their spatial representations, and the few spatially tuned adult-born cells remapped to a similar degree. We next used optogenetic silencing to confirm the direct involvement of abGCs in context encoding and discrimination, consistent with their proposed role in pattern separation. These results provide the first in vivo characterization of abGCs and reveal their participation in the encoding of novel information.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Dentate Gyrus / cytology
  • Dentate Gyrus / metabolism*
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence, Multiphoton
  • Neurogenesis*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Optogenetics


  • Calcium