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Keywords:

  • cell assembly;
  • fast oscillation;
  • ripple;
  • temporal coding

Abstract

On the linear track, the recent firing sequences of CA1 place cells recur during sharp wave/ripple patterns (SWRs) in a reverse temporal order [Foster & Wilson (2006) Nature, 440, 680–683]. We have found similar reverse-order reactivation during SWRs in open-field exploration where the firing sequence of cells varied before each SWR. Both the onset times and the firing patterns of cells showed a tendency for reversed sequences during SWRs. These effects were observed for SWRs that occurred during exploration, but not for those during longer immobility periods. Additionally, reverse reactivation was stronger when it was preceded by higher speed (> 5 cm/s) run periods. The trend for reverse-order SWR reactivation was not significantly different in familiar and novel environments, even though SWR-associated firing rates of both pyramidal cells and interneurons were reduced in novel environments as compared with familiar. During exploration-associated SWRs (eSWR) place cells retain place-selective firing [O'Neill et al. (2006) Neuron, 49, 143–155]. Here, we have shown that each cell's firing onset was more delayed and firing probability more reduced during eSWRs the further the rat was from the middle of the cell's place field; that is, cells receiving less momentary place-related excitatory drive fired later during SWR events. However, even controlling for place field distance, the recent firing of cells was still significantly correlated with SWR reactivation sequences. We therefore propose that both place-related drive and the firing history of cells contribute to reverse reactivation during eSWRs.