Activity of hippocampal pyramidal neurons during trace eyeblink conditioning

Hippocampus. 1996;6(2):192-209. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-1063(1996)6:2<192::AID-HIPO9>3.0.CO;2-R.


The responsiveness of hippocampal pyramidal neurons was examined in young adult rabbits which were trained in a hippocampally dependent long interval trace eyeblink conditioning task. The majority of recorded cells were putative pyramidal neurons from area CA1. Our analysis indicates that 57% of 93 neurons had a statistically significant change in firing rate during some portion of the trial. The response patterns were quite heterogeneous, and inhibition was frequently observed. Inhibition was especially prominent in a post-trial period. Only a small percentage of the putative pyramidal cells exhibited robust changes in activity with prominent temporal modeling of the conditioned eyeblink response as previously described for rabbits trained with delay conditioning procedures (Berger et al. [1983] J Neurophysiol 50:1197-1219). These results were also similar for the CA3 pyramidal neurons that were recorded (N = 19). Few CA1 neurons had significant responses during unpaired presentations of tone and airpuff, and neural activity that was present was concentrated in the period commencing from airpuff onset. Preliminary data were also recorded from putative pyramidal neurons during hippocampally independent delay eyeblink conditioning, where a longer tone overlapped and coterminated with the airpuff. In this task five of 13 neurons (CA1 and CA3) were active during the trial period, another four were responsive only during the post-trial period, and other simultaneously recorded neurons were unresponsive. These data suggest a relatively more varied pattern of pyramidal neuron engagement during hippocampally dependent trace eyeblink conditioning than was apparent in previous multiple- and single-neuron analyses of activity during eyeblink conditioning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Eyelid / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Female
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology*
  • Rabbits