Hippocampal population code while mice explore up to 66 different environments in VR

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2021-08-05
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en
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The hippocampus is thought to be the central hub for the formation of memories. Whenever a new important place is visited, it is thought that pyramidal cells within subregion CA1 of the hippocampus produce a new representation of this novel environment. However, one key unresolved question is how this population activity within CA1 behaves when the representational capacity is challenged. Is this code entirely ‘uncorrelated’, referring to the efficient coding hypothesis, or is it predictable from the features of a given environment? To answer this question, we used in vivo 2-photon calcium imaging and virtual reality (VR) in order to significantly increase the number of environments an animal explores. Here we provide evidence that the population code in CA1 for many, randomly generated VR environments is influenced by visual stimulus features of the environments itself. This research adds to the growing number of studies who report that cell activity in hippocampal region CA1 is partially predictable from environmental features.
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Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen