The hippocampus, a region critical for memory and spatial navigation, has been implicated in delay discounting, the decline in subjective reward value when a delay is imposed. However, how delay information is encoded in the hippocampus is poorly understood. Here we recorded from CA1 of mice performing a delay-discounting decision-making task, where delay lengths, delay positions, and reward amounts were changed across sessions, and identified subpopulations of CA1 neurons which increased or decreased their firing rate during long delays. The activity of both delay-active and -suppressive cells reflected delay length, delay position, and reward amount; however manipulating reward amount differentially impacted the two populations, suggesting distinct roles in the valuation process. Further, genetic deletion of NMDA receptor in hippocampal pyramidal cells impaired delay-discount behavior and diminished delay-dependent activity in CA1. Our results suggest that distinct subclasses of hippocampal neurons concertedly support delay-discounting decisions in a manner dependent on NMDA receptor function.
- Akira Masuda
- Shigeyoshi Fujisawa
- Akira Masuda
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institute of Health. The study was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of the RIKEN Institute in Wako (approval number H27-2-239(6)), in conformity with Article 24 of the RIKEN regulations for animal experiments. All surgery was performed under isoflurane anesthesia, and every effort was made to minimize suffering.
- Matthijs (Matt) van der Meer
© 2020, Masuda et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
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Hippocampal firing is organized in theta sequences controlled by internal memory processes and by external sensory cues, but how these computations are coordinated is not fully understood. Although theta activity is commonly studied as a unique coherent oscillation, it is the result of complex interactions between different rhythm generators. Here, by separating hippocampal theta activity in three different current generators, we found epochs with variable theta frequency and phase coupling, suggesting flexible interactions between theta generators. We found that epochs of highly synchronized theta rhythmicity preferentially occurred during behavioral tasks requiring coordination between internal memory representations and incoming sensory information. In addition, we found that gamma oscillations were associated with specific theta generators and the strength of theta-gamma coupling predicted the synchronization between theta generators. We propose a mechanism for segregating or integrating hippocampal computations based on the flexible coordination of different theta frameworks to accommodate the cognitive needs.
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