Retrosplenial cortex (RSC) is involved in visuospatial integration and spatial learning, and RSC neurons exhibit discrete, place cell-like sequential activity that resembles the population code of space in hippocampus. To investigate the origins and population dynamics of this activity, we combined longitudinal cellular calcium imaging of dysgranular RSC neurons in mice with excitotoxic hippocampal lesions. We tracked the emergence and stability of RSC spatial activity over consecutive imaging sessions. Overall, spatial activity in RSC was experience-dependent, emerging gradually over time, but, as seen in the hippocampus, the spatial code changed dynamically across days. Bilateral but not unilateral hippocampal lesions impeded the development of spatial activity in RSC. Thus, the emergence of spatial activity in RSC, a major recipient of hippocampal information, depends critically on an intact hippocampus; the indirect connections between the dysgranular RSC and the hippocampus further indicate that hippocampus may exert such influences polysynaptically within neocortex.
Keywords: hippocampal indexing theory; hippocampus; retrosplenial cortex; spatial learning; spatial sequence coding.
Copyright © 2018 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.