The relationship between the field-shifting phenomenon and representational coherence of place cells in CA1 and CA3 in a cue-altered environment.

Publication Date



Learn Mem. 2007 November; 14(11): 807–815.


Subfields of the hippocampus display differential dynamics in processing a spatial environment, especially when changes are introduced to the environment. Specifically, when familiar cues in the environment are spatially rearranged, place cells in the CA3 subfield tend to rotate with a particular set of cues (e.g., proximal cues), maintaining a coherent spatial representation. Place cells in CA1, in contrast, display discordant behaviors (e.g., rotating with different sets of cues or remapping) in the same condition. In addition, on average, CA3 place cells shift their firing locations (measured by the center of mass, or COM) backward over time when the animal encounters the changed environment for the first time, but not after that first experience. However, CA1 displays an opposite pattern, in which place cells exhibit the backward COM-shift only from the second day of experience, but not on the first day. Here, we examined the relationship between the environment-representing behavior (i.e., rotation vs. remapping) and the COM-shift of place fields in CA1 and CA3. Both in CA1 and CA3, the backward (as well as forward) COM-shift phenomena occurred regardless of the rotating versus remapping of the place cell. The differential, daily time course of the onset/offset of backward COM-shift in the cue-altered environment in CA1 and CA3 (on day 1 in CA1 and from day 2 onward in CA3) stems from different population dynamics between the subfields. The results suggest that heterogeneous, complex plasticity mechanisms underlie the environment-representating behavior (i.e., rotate/remap) and the COM-shifting behavior of the place cell.


Animals, Brain Mapping, Conditioning (Psychology), Electrodes, Implanted, Environment, Hippocampus, Male, Memory, Photic Stimulation, Rats, Rats, Long-Evans, Space Perception