Monday, April 28, 2008

Theta phase–specific codes for two-dimensional position, trajectory and heading in the hippocampus

John R Huxter, Timothy J Senior, Kevin Allen, Jozsef Csicsvari
Nature Neuroscience 11, 587 - 594 (2008)

Temporal coding is a means of representing information by the time, as opposed to the rate, at which neurons fire. Evidence of temporal coding in the hippocampus comes from place cells, whose spike times relative to theta oscillations reflect a rat's position while running along stereotyped trajectories. This arises from the backwards shift in cell firing relative to local theta oscillations (phase precession). Here we demonstrate phase precession during place-field crossings in an open-field foraging task. This produced spike sequences in each theta cycle that disambiguate the rat's trajectory through two-dimensional space and can be used to predict movement direction. Furthermore, position and movement direction were maximally predicted from firing in the early and late portions of the theta cycle, respectively. This represents the first direct evidence of a combined representation of position, trajectory and heading in the hippocampus, organized on a fine temporal scale by theta oscillations.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's a very nice paper, but the major finding was already done by Bill Skaggs in his seminal 1996 paper. Every time I read that paper, I'm suprised by the huge amount of information in it.

Skaggs WE, McNaughton BL, Wilson MA, Barnes CA.(1996) Theta phase precession in hippocampal neuronal populations and the compression of temporal sequences.Hippocampus. 1996;6(2):149-72.