Phencyclidine discoordinates hippocampal network activity but not place fields

Hsin Yi Kao, Dino Dvořák, Eunhye Park, Jana Kenney, Eduard Kelemen, André A. Fenton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We used the psychotomimetic phencyclidine (PCP) to investigate the relationships among cognitive behavior, coordinated neural network function, and information processing within the hippocampus place cell system. We report in rats that PCP (5 mg/kg, i.p.) impairs a well learned, hippocampus-dependent place avoidance behavior in rats that requires cognitive control even when PCP is injected directly into dorsal hippocampus. PCP increases 60–100 Hz medium-freguency gamma oscillations in hippocampus CA1 and these increases correlate with the cognitive impairment caused by systemic PCP administration. PCP discoordinates theta-modulated medium-frequency and slow gamma oscillations in CA1 LFPs such that medium-frequency gamma oscillations become more theta-organized than slow gamma oscillations. CA1 place cell firing fields are preserved under PCP, but the drug discoordinates the subsecond temporal organization of discharge among place cells. This discoordination causes place cell ensemble representations of a familiar space to cease resembling pre-PCP representations despite preserved place fields. These findings point to the cognitive impairments caused by PCP arising from neural discoordination. PCP disrupts the timing of discharge with respect to the subsecond timescales of theta and gamma oscillations in the LFP. Because these oscillations arise from local inhibitory synaptic activity, these findings point to excitation– inhibition discoordination as the root of PCP-induced cognitive impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12031-12049
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 6 2017


  • Gamma
  • NMDA antagonist
  • Neural discoordination
  • Oscillations
  • Place cell
  • Theta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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