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Persistent activity in limbic system neurons: neurophysiological and modeling perspectives

Summary: Persistent activity in limbic system neurons: neurophysiological
and modeling perspectives
Sidney I. Wiener *, Angelo Arleo
Laboratoire de Physiologie de la Perception et de l'Action, CNRS-College de France, 11 place Marcelin Berthelot, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France
Neural activity persisting for one to hundreds of seconds has been postulated to be a substrate of memory. This review article
illustrates examples of such activity in limbic system structures including the hippocampus, postsubiculum, and the anterodorsal
thalamus. These neuronal responses include better known correlates with the spatial position as well as with head direction of the
animal relative to its environment as well as other lesser known examples. Since head direction responses are greater when the
animal is actively moving than when passively rotated, it has been proposed that there might be a general mechanism where
the behavioral state of the animal can provide modulatory gating of such persistent signals. This would regulate the relative
influence of these signals on downstream structures. Neural network attractor models of the head direction cell system are presented
to demonstrate how these responses might originate, as well as the dynamics by which they are updated during movements.
Ó 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Attractor networks; Head direction cells; Place cells; Hippocampus; Memory
1. Introduction
While neurons respond to brief stimuli on the time-
scale of tens, or even hundreds of milliseconds, we are
capable of remembering information for much longer
delays. Persistent neuronal activity for periods lasting on


Source: Arleo, Angelo - Laboratory of Neurobiology of Adaptive Processes, Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie, Paris 6


Collections: Biology and Medicine