Reactivation of the hippocampal cognitive map in goal-directed spatial tasks
By: Xu, HaibingMaterial type: TextPublisher: IST Austria 2017Online resources: Click here to access online
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List of figures
5 Future Work
7 Curriculum Vitae
The hippocampus is a key brain region for memory and notably for spatial memory, and is needed for both spatial working and reference memories. Hippocampal place cells selectively discharge in specific locations of the environment to form mnemonic represen tations of space. Several behavioral protocols have been designed to test spatial memory which requires the experimental subject to utilize working memory and reference memory. However, less is known about how these memory traces are presented in the hippo campus, especially considering tasks that require both spatial working and long -term reference memory demand. The aim of my thesis was to elucidate how spatial working memory, reference memory, and the combination of both are represented in the hippocampus. In this thesis, using a radial eight -arm maze, I examined how the combined demand on these memories influenced place cell assemblies while reference memories were partially updated by changing some of the reward- arms. This was contrasted with task varian ts requiring working or reference memories only. Reference memory update led to gradual place field shifts towards the rewards on the switched arms. Cells developed enhanced firing in passes between newly -rewarded arms as compared to those containing an unchanged reward. The working memory task did not show such gradual changes. Place assemblies on occasions replayed trajectories of the maze; at decision points the next arm choice was preferentially replayed in tasks needing reference memory while in the pure working memory task the previously visited arm was replayed. Hence trajectory replay only reflected the decision of the animal in tasks needing reference memory update. At the reward locations, in all three tasks outbound trajectories of the current arm were preferentially replayed, showing the animals’ next path to the center. At reward locations trajectories were replayed preferentially in reverse temporal order. Moreover, in the center reverse replay was seen in the working memory task but in the other tasks forward replay was seen. Hence, the direction of reactivation was determined by the goal locations so that part of the trajectory which was closer to the goal was reactivated later in an HSE while places further away from the goal were reactivated earlier. Altogether my work demonstrated that reference memory update triggers several levels of reorganization of the hippocampal cognitive map which are not seen in simpler working memory demand s. Moreover, hippocampus is likely to be involved in spatial decisions through reactivating planned trajectories when reference memory recall is required for such a decision.