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Neurosci Res. 2018 May 26. pii: S0168-0102(18)30207-4. doi: 10.1016/j.neures.2018.05.005. [Epub ahead of print]

Non-structured spike sequences of hippocampal neuronal ensembles in awake animals.

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Laboratory of Chemical Pharmacology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-0033, Japan; Precursory Research for Embryonic Science and Technology, Japan Science and Technology Agency, 4-1-8 Honcho, Kawaguchi, Saitama, 332-0012, Japan. Electronic address:


The hippocampal network generates synchronized spikes of a large population of pyramidal neurons associated with sharp-wave ripples in local field potential signals. Ample evidence demonstrates that the synchronized spikes are created by sequential activation of hippocampal place cells that correspond to the animal's past or future trajectories and are hypothesized to play instrumental roles in mnemonic functions. However, not all place-cell spike sequences are precisely organized, and some sequences are composed of spikes from non-spatial cells, implying that not all hippocampal synchronized events directly replicate learned behavioral episodes. While less attention has been given to such non-ordered spike sequences, variable and dynamic selection of active neuronal assemblies may be optimal mechanisms for rapidly reorganizing functional circuits and self-developing novel representations to enable flexible decision-making processes. We recently showed that specific neurons, including both spatial and non-spatial cells, are preferentially recruited in synchronous events for particular time periods, suggesting that there are temporally fluctuating background states of the hippocampal network that determine active neuronal ensembles. Based on recent reports, this review discusses potential roles of the low-fidelity, heterogeneous repertoire of synchronized spike sequences of hippocampal neurons.


Heterogeneity; Hippocampus; Replay; Sharp-wave ripple; Synchronization

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