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Abnormal dentate gyrus disrupts effect of visual input on spatial firing of hippocampal neurons : further evidence for the role of dentate gyrus in binding internal and external spatial information

Lee, Jong Won; Kim, Woon Ryoung; Sun, Woong; Jung, Min Whan
Lab. of Neuroscience, Institute for Medical Sciences, Ajou University School of Medicine
Humans and animals form internal representations of external space based on their own body movement (dead reckoning) as well as external sensory information (landmark-based navigation). It is poorly understood, however, how different types of information are integrated to form a unified map of external space. Recently, it has been proposed that dentate gyrus plays a critical role in binding internally-generated spatial representation with sensory information on external landmarks. To test this hypothesis, we examined effects of visual input on spatial firing of CA1 neurons in Bax knock-out mice in which neural circuitry is disrupted specifically in the dentate gyrus. The spatial selectivity and stability of CA1 neuronal firing were significantly higher under light than complete dark condition in wild type mice. By contrast in the Bax knock-out mice, they were similarly low in both recording conditions. These results indicate that visual input allows spatial firing of CA1 neurons to be selective and stable, and that disruption of DG circuitry blocks these effects of visual input on spatial firing of CA1 neurons. Our results provide empirical support for the proposed role of dentate gyrus in aligning internally-generated spatial representation to external landmarks in building unified representation of external space.
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