Hippocampal “Time Cells” Bridge the Gap in Memory for Discontiguous Events


The hippocampus is critical to remembering the flow of events in distinct experiences and, in doing so, bridges temporal gaps between discontiguous events. Here, we report a robust hippocampal representation of sequence memories, highlighted by "time cells" that encode successive moments during an empty temporal gap between the key events, while also encoding location and ongoing behavior. Furthermore, just as most place cells "remap" when a salient spatial cue is altered, most time cells form qualitatively different representations ("retime") when the main temporal parameter is altered. Hippocampal neurons also differentially encode the key events and disambiguate different event sequences to compose unique, temporally organized representations of specific experiences. These findings suggest that hippocampal neural ensembles segment temporally organized memories much the same as they represent locations of important events in spatially defined environments.

DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.07.012

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@article{MacDonald2011HippocampalC, title={Hippocampal “Time Cells” Bridge the Gap in Memory for Discontiguous Events}, author={Christopher J. MacDonald and Kyle Q. Lepage and Uri T. Eden and Howard Eichenbaum}, journal={Neuron}, year={2011}, volume={71}, pages={737-749} }