Tactile modulation of hippocampal place fields

Authors

  • Thomas Gener,

    1. Systems Neuroscience, IDIBAPS (Institut de Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer), Barcelona, Spain
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  • Lorena Perez-Mendez,

    1. Systems Neuroscience, IDIBAPS (Institut de Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer), Barcelona, Spain
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  • Maria V. Sanchez-Vives

    Corresponding author
    1. Systems Neuroscience, IDIBAPS (Institut de Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer), Barcelona, Spain
    2. Life & Medical Sciences, ICREA (Instituciò Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats), Barcelona, Spain
    • Correspondence to: Maria V. Sanchez-Vives, IDIBAPS, Roselló 149-153, Barcelona 08036, Spain. E-mail. msanche3@clinic.ub.es

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ABSTRACT

Neural correlates of spatial representation can be found in the activity of the hippocampal place cells. These neurons are characterized by firing whenever the animal is located in a particular area of the space, the place field. Place fields are modulated by sensory cues, such as visual, auditory, or olfactory cues, being the influence of visual inputs the most thoroughly studied. Tactile information gathered by the whiskers has a prominent representation in the rat cerebral cortex. However, the influence of whisker-detected tactile cues on place fields remains an open question. Here we studied place fields in an enriched tactile environment where the remaining sensory cues were occluded. First, place cells were recorded before and after blockade of tactile transmission by means of lidocaine applied on the whisker pad. Following tactile deprivation, the majority of place cells decreased their firing rate and their place fields expanded. We next rotated the tactile cues and 90% of place fields rotated with them. Our results demonstrate that tactile information is integrated into place cells at least in a tactile-enriched arena and when other sensory cues are not available. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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