The interhemispheric CA1 circuit governs rapid generalisation but not fear memory

Nat Commun. 2017 Dec 19;8(1):2190. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-02315-4.


Encoding specificity theory predicts most effective recall by the original conditions at encoding, while generalization endows recall flexibly under circumstances which deviate from the originals. The CA1 regions have been implicated in memory and generalization but whether and which locally separated mechanisms are involved is not clear. We report here that fear memory is quickly formed, but generalization develops gradually over 24 h. Generalization but not fear memory is impaired by inhibiting ipsilateral (ips) or contralateral (con) CA1, and by optogenetic silencing of the ipsCA1 projections onto conCA1. By contrast, in vivo fEPSP recordings reveal that ipsCA1-conCA1 synaptic efficacy is increased with delay over 24 h when generalization is formed but it is unchanged if generalization is disrupted. Direct excitation of ipsCA1-conCA1 synapses using chemogenetic hM3Dq facilitates generalization formation. Thus, rapid generalization is an active process dependent on bilateral CA1 regions, and encoded by gradual synaptic learning in ipsCA1-conCA1 circuit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / physiology*
  • Conditioning, Psychological / physiology*
  • Fear / psychology*
  • Generalization, Psychological / physiology*
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Mental Recall / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Models, Animal
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Optogenetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Synapses / physiology