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J Neurosci. 2010 Feb 3;30(5):1777-87. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4681-09.2010.

Distinct representations and theta dynamics in dorsal and ventral hippocampus.

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Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark, New Jersey 07102, USA.


Although anatomical, lesion, and imaging studies of the hippocampus indicate qualitatively different information processing along its septo-temporal axis, physiological mechanisms supporting such distinction are missing. We found fundamental differences between the dorsal (dCA3) and the ventral-most parts (vCA3) of the hippocampus in both environmental representation and temporal dynamics. Discrete place fields of dCA3 neurons evenly covered all parts of the testing environments. In contrast, vCA3 neurons (1) rarely showed continuous two-dimensional place fields, (2) differentiated open and closed arms of a radial maze, and (3) discharged similar firing patterns with respect to the goals, both on multiple arms of a radial maze and during opposite journeys in a zigzag maze. In addition, theta power and the fraction of theta-rhythmic neurons were substantially reduced in the ventral compared with dorsal hippocampus. We hypothesize that the spatial representation in the septo-temporal axis of the hippocampus is progressively decreased. This change is paralleled with a reduction of theta rhythm and an increased representation of nonspatial information.

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