What determines the firing rate of cortical neurons in the absence of external sensory input or motor behavior, such as during sleep? Here we report that, in a familiar environment, the discharge frequency of simultaneously recorded individual CA1 pyramidal neurons and the coactivation of cell pairs remain highly correlated across sleep-wake-sleep sequences. However, both measures were affected when new sets of neurons were activated in a novel environment. Nevertheless, the grand mean firing rate of the whole pyramidal cell population remained constant across behavioral states and testing conditions. The findings suggest that long-term firing patterns of single cells can be modified by experience. We hypothesize that increased firing rates of recently used neurons are associated with a concomitant decrease in the discharge activity of the remaining population, leaving the mean excitability of the hippocampal network unaltered.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 31 2001|
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