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J Neurosci. 1999 May 15;19(10):4090-101.

Reactivation of hippocampal cell assemblies: effects of behavioral state, experience, and EEG dynamics.

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  • 1Arizona Research Laboratories-Neural Systems Memory and Aging, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85724, USA.


During slow wave sleep (SWS), traces of neuronal activity patterns from preceding behavior can be observed in rat hippocampus and neocortex. The spontaneous reactivation of these patterns is manifested as the reinstatement of the distribution of pairwise firing-rate correlations within a population of simultaneously recorded neurons. The effects of behavioral state [quiet wakefulness, SWS, and rapid eye movement (REM)], interactions between two successive spatial experiences, and global modulation during 200 Hz electroencephalographic (EEG) "ripples" on pattern reinstatement were studied in CA1 pyramidal cell population recordings. Pairwise firing-rate correlations during often repeated experiences accounted for a significant proportion of the variance in these interactions in subsequent SWS or quiet wakefulness and, to a lesser degree, during SWS before the experience on a given day. The latter effect was absent for novel experiences, suggesting that a persistent memory trace develops with experience. Pattern reinstatement was strongest during sharp wave-ripple oscillations, suggesting that these events may reflect system convergence onto attractor states corresponding to previous experiences. When two different experiences occurred in succession, the statistically independent effects of both were evident in subsequent SWS. Thus, the patterns of neural activity reemerge spontaneously, and in an interleaved manner, and do not necessarily reflect persistence of an active memory (i.e., reverberation). Firing-rate correlations during REM sleep were not related to the preceding familiar experience, possibly as a consequence of trace decay during the intervening SWS. REM episodes also did not detectably influence the correlation structure in subsequent SWS, suggesting a lack of strengthening of memory traces during REM sleep, at least in the case of familiar experiences.

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