Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Preplay of future place cell sequences by hippocampal cellular assemblies

10.01.2011
Researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory report for the first time how animals' knowledge obtained through past experiences can subconsciously influence their behavior in new situations.

Researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory report for the first time how animals' knowledge obtained through past experiences can subconsciously influence their behavior in new situations.

The work, which sheds light on how our past experiences inform our future choices, was reported on Dec. 22 in an advance online publication of Nature.

Previous work has shown that when a rat or mouse explores a new space, neurons in its hippocampus, the center of learning and memory, fire sequentially like gunpowder igniting a makeshift fuse. Individual neurons called place cells fire in a specific pattern that mirrors the animal's movement through space. By looking at the time-specific patterns and sequences recorded from the firing cells, researchers can tell which part of the maze the animal was running at the time.

In the current work, research scientist George Dragoi and Susumu Tonegawa, Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience and director of the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics, found that some of the sequences of place cells in mice' brains that fired during a novel spatial experience such as running a new maze had already occurred while the animals rested before the experience.

"These findings explain at the neuronal circuit level the phenomenon through which prior knowledge influences our decisions when we encounter a new situation," Dragoi said. "This explains in part why different individuals form different representations and respond differently when faced with the same situation."

Thinking ahead

When a mouse pauses and rests while running a maze, it mentally replays its experience. Its neurons fire in the same pattern of activity that occurred while it was running. Unlike this version of mental replay, the phenomenon found by the MIT researchers is called preplay. It occurred before the animal even started the new maze.

"These results suggest that internal neuronal dynamics during resting organize cells within the hippocampus into time-based sequences that help encode a related experience occurring in the future," Tonegawa said.

"Previous work largely ignored internal neuronal activities representing prior knowledge that occurred before a new event, space or situation. Our work shows that an individual's access to prior knowledge can help predict a response to a new but similar experience," he said.

This work is supported by supported by the National Institutes of Health.

By Deborah Halber

gro-pr | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.riken.jp
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>