Recurrent network model for learning goal-directed sequences through reverse replay

Elife. 2018 Jul 3;7:e34171. doi: 10.7554/eLife.34171.


Reverse replay of hippocampal place cells occurs frequently at rewarded locations, suggesting its contribution to goal-directed path learning. Symmetric spike-timing dependent plasticity (STDP) in CA3 likely potentiates recurrent synapses for both forward (start to goal) and reverse (goal to start) replays during sequential activation of place cells. However, how reverse replay selectively strengthens forward synaptic pathway is unclear. Here, we show computationally that firing sequences bias synaptic transmissions to the opposite direction of propagation under symmetric STDP in the co-presence of short-term synaptic depression or afterdepolarization. We demonstrate that significant biases are created in biologically realistic simulation settings, and this bias enables reverse replay to enhance goal-directed spatial memory on a W-maze. Further, we show that essentially the same mechanism works in a two-dimensional open field. Our model for the first time provides the mechanistic account for the way reverse replay contributes to hippocampal sequence learning for reward-seeking spatial navigation.

Keywords: goal-directed learning; hippocampus; neuroscience; none; reverse replay; sequence learning; short-term plasticity; spike-timing-dependent plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Bias
  • Computer Simulation
  • Goals*
  • Learning*
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Place Cells / physiology
  • Reward
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology
  • Theta Rhythm / physiology
  • Time Factors

Grant support

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.