Experience-dependent, asymmetric expansion of hippocampal place fields

Mayank R. Mehta, Carol A. Barnes, Bruce L. Mcnaughton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

375 Scopus citations


Theories of sequence learning based on temporally asymmetric, Hebbian long-term potentiation predict that during route learning the spatial firing distributions of hippocampal neurons should enlarge in a direction opposite to the animal's movement. On a route AB, increased synaptic drive from cells representing A would cause cells representing B to fire earlier and more robustly. These effects appeared within a few laps in rats running on closed tracks. This provides indirect evidence for Hebbian synaptic plasticity and a functional explanation for why place cells become directionally selective during route following, namely, to preserve the synaptic asymmetry necessary to encode the sequence direction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8918-8921
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 5 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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