Hippocampal place fields are altered by the removal of single visual cues in a distance-dependent manner

Behav Neurosci. 1997 Feb;111(1):20-34. doi: 10.1037//0735-7044.111.1.20.


Hippocampal CA3 cells were recorded in male Long-Evans rats that explored a square recording chamber. Three of the 4 chamber walls held a rectangular cue card, each of different size. Rotating the set of cue cards rotated the location of the place fields. Place fields were common close to the walls of the recording chamber, particularly the walls with cues. When single cues were removed, the spatial information content decreased but returned to baseline levels when the cue was replaced. When a cue near a place field was removed, the place field firing rate and area decreased; when a distant cue was removed, firing rate and area increased. Thus, removing single visual cues predictably and reversibly altered hippocampal place fields. Together, the results suggest that hippocampal neurons may optimize the encoding of visual information and are consistent with a distance-encoding hypothesis of CA3 network function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology
  • Distance Perception / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Hypothalamic Area, Lateral / physiology
  • Male
  • Medial Forebrain Bundle / physiology
  • Mental Recall / physiology
  • Motivation
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Self Stimulation / physiology
  • Size Perception / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*