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Cell. 2016 Jan 14;164(1-2):197-207. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.12.015. Epub 2015 Dec 17.

Causal Influence of Visual Cues on Hippocampal Directional Selectivity.

Author information

1
W.M. Keck Center for Neurophysics, Integrative Center for Learning and Memory, and Brain Research Institute, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA; Biomedical Engineering Interdepartmental Program, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
2
W.M. Keck Center for Neurophysics, Integrative Center for Learning and Memory, and Brain Research Institute, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA; Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
3
W.M. Keck Center for Neurophysics, Integrative Center for Learning and Memory, and Brain Research Institute, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA; Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
4
W.M. Keck Center for Neurophysics, Integrative Center for Learning and Memory, and Brain Research Institute, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA; Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA; Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA; Departments of Neurology and Neurobiology, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA. Electronic address: mayankmehta@ucla.edu.

Abstract

Hippocampal neurons show selectivity with respect to visual cues in primates, including humans, but this has never been found in rodents. To address this long-standing discrepancy, we measured hippocampal activity from rodents during real-world random foraging. Surprisingly, ∼ 25% of neurons exhibited significant directional modulation with respect to visual cues. To dissociate the contributions of visual and vestibular cues, we made similar measurements in virtual reality, in which only visual cues were informative. Here, we found significant directional modulation despite the severe loss of vestibular information, challenging prevailing theories of directionality. Changes in the amount of angular information in visual cues induced corresponding changes in head-directional modulation at the neuronal and population levels. Thus, visual cues are sufficient for-and play a predictable, causal role in-generating directionally selective hippocampal responses. These results dissociate hippocampal directional and spatial selectivity and bridge the gap between primate and rodent studies.

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PMID:
26709045
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2015.12.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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