Activity-dependent plasticity of hippocampal place maps

Nat Commun. 2016 Jun 10;7:11824. doi: 10.1038/ncomms11824.


Hippocampal neurons encode a cognitive map of space. These maps are thought to be updated during learning and in response to changes in the environment through activity-dependent synaptic plasticity. Here we examine how changes in activity influence spatial coding in rats using halorhodopsin-mediated, spatially selective optogenetic silencing. Halorhoposin stimulation leads to light-induced suppression in many place cells and interneurons; some place cells increase their firing through disinhibition, whereas some show no effect. We find that place fields of the unaffected subpopulation remain stable. On the other hand, place fields of suppressed place cells were unstable, showing remapping across sessions before and after optogenetic inhibition. Disinhibited place cells had stable maps but sustained an elevated firing rate. These findings suggest that place representation in the hippocampus is constantly governed by activity-dependent processes, and that disinhibition may provide a mechanism for rate remapping.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Bias
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / physiology
  • Hippocampus
  • Light
  • Male
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Optogenetics
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Space Perception / physiology*