Impaired hippocampal representation of space in CA1-specific NMDAR1 knockout mice

Cell. 1996 Dec 27;87(7):1339-49. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)81828-0.


To investigate the role of synaptic plasticity in the place-specific firing of the hippocampus, we have applied multiple electrode recording techniques to freely behaving mice with a CA1 pyramidal cell-specific knockout of the NMDAR1 gene. We have discovered that although the CA1 pyramidal cells of these mice retain place-related activity, there is a significant decrease in the spatial specificity of individual place fields. We have also found a striking deficit in the coordinated firing of pairs of neurons tuned to similar spatial locations. Pairs have uncorrelated firing even if their fields overlap. These results demonstrate that NMDA receptor-mediated synaptic plasticity is necessary for the proper representation of space in the CA1 region of the hippocampus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Electrophysiology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Memory / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / physiology*
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology


  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate