A test of the reverberatory activity hypothesis for hippocampal 'place' cells

E. I. Moser, M. B. Moser, P. Lipa, M. Newton, F. P. Houston, C. A. Barnes, B. L. Mcnaughton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


One of several tenable hypotheses that can be proposed to explain the complex dynamics of spatially selective hippocampal neural activity postulates that the region of space over which a given cell receives its external input is actually much smaller than the classical 'place field.' According to this notion, the later portions of the field reflect some form of network hysteresis resulting from 'reverberatory' activity within reentrant, synaptically coupled cell assemblies within the hippocampus. This hypothesis predicts that transient, global inhibition, induced after the onset of firing, might truncate the remainder of the place field. To test this hypothesis, principal afferents to the hippocampus were stimulated bilaterally in rats running on a circular track, evoking widespread inhibition throughout the hippocampus, and abolishing all spike activity from simultaneously recorded populations of CA1 pyramidal cells for periods of 150-300 ms. Stimulation at any point within the place field of a given cell suppressed firing only for such brief intervals, followed by an immediate resumption for the remainder of the field. These results suggest that without additional cellular and/or synaptic mechanisms, reverberatory activity alone within the hippocampus does not account for the shape and spatial extent of place fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-526
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005


  • cell assemblies
  • inhibition
  • memory
  • network
  • place cell
  • theta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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