Uncovering temporal structure in hippocampal output patterns
de Jong, Laurel Watkins
Pfeiffer, Brad E.
Place cell activity of hippocampal pyramidal cells has been described as the cognitive substrate of spatial memory. Replay is observed during hippocampal sharp-wave-ripple-associated population burst events (PBEs) and is critical for consolidation and recall-guided behaviors. PBE activity has historically been analyzed as a phenomenon subordinate to the place code. Here, we use hidden Markov models to study PBEs observed in rats during exploration of both linear mazes and open fields. We demonstrate that estimated models are consistent with a spatial map of the environment, and can even decode animals' positions during behavior. Moreover, we demonstrate the model can be used to identify hippocampal replay without recourse to the place code, using only PBE model congruence. These results suggest that downstream regions may rely on PBEs to provide a substrate for memory. Additionally, by forming models independent of animal behavior, we lay the groundwork for studies of non-spatial memory.