Dentate network activity is necessary for spatial working memory by supporting CA3 sharp-wave ripple generation and prospective firing of CA3 neurons

Nat Neurosci. 2018 Feb;21(2):258-269. doi: 10.1038/s41593-017-0061-5. Epub 2018 Jan 15.


Complex spatial working memory tasks have been shown to require both hippocampal sharp-wave ripple (SWR) activity and dentate gyrus (DG) neuronal activity. We therefore asked whether DG inputs to CA3 contribute to spatial working memory by promoting SWR generation. Recordings from DG and CA3 while rats performed a dentate-dependent working memory task on an eight-arm radial maze revealed that the activity of dentate neurons and the incidence rate of SWRs both increased during reward consumption. We then found reduced reward-related CA3 SWR generation without direct input from dentate granule neurons. Furthermore, CA3 cells with place fields in not-yet-visited arms preferentially fired during SWRs at reward locations, and these prospective CA3 firing patterns were more pronounced for correct trials and were dentate-dependent. These results indicate that coordination of CA3 neuronal activity patterns by DG is necessary for the generation of neuronal firing patterns that support goal-directed behavior and memory.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • CA3 Region, Hippocampal / cytology*
  • Dentate Gyrus / cytology
  • Dentate Gyrus / injuries
  • Dentate Gyrus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Reward
  • Spatial Memory / physiology
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Time Factors