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Neuroscience. 2000;100(1):11-9.

Convergence of head direction and place information in the CA1 region of hippocampus.

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Department of Psychology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.


The hippocampus has long been considered critical for spatial learning and navigation. Recent theoretical models of the rodent and primate hippocampus consider spatial processing a special case of a more general memory function. These non-spatial theories of hippocampus differ from navigational theories with respect to the role of self-motion representations. The present study presents evidence for a new cell type in the CA1 area of the rat hippocampus that codes for directional heading independent of location information (i.e. the angular component of self-motion). These hippocampal head direction cells are controlled by external and idiothetic cues in a similar way as head direction cells in other brain areas and hippocampal place cells. Convergent head direction information and location information may be an essential component of a neural system that monitors behavioral sequences during navigation. Conflicts between internally generated and external cues have previously been shown to result in new hippocampal place representations, suggesting that head direction information may participate in synaptic interactions when new location codes are formed. Combined hippocampal representations of self-motion and external cues may therefore contribute to path integration as well as spatial memory processing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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