Position-theta-phase model of hippocampal place cell activity applied to quantification of running speed modulation of firing rate

Kathryn McClain, David Tingley, David J. Heeger, György Buzsáki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Spiking activity of place cells in the hippocampus encodes the animal's position as it moves through an environment. Within a cell's place field, both the firing rate and the phase of spiking in the local theta oscillation contain spatial information. We propose a position-theta-phase (PTP) model that captures the simultaneous expression of the firing-rate code and theta-phase code in place cell spiking. This model parametrically characterizes place fields to compare across cells, time, and conditions; generates realistic place cell simulation data; and conceptualizes a framework for principled hypothesis testing to identify additional features of place cell activity. We use the PTP model to assess the effect of running speed in place cell data recorded from rats running on linear tracks. For the majority of place fields, we do not find evidence for speed modulation of the firing rate. For a small subset of place fields, we find firing rates significantly increase or decrease with speed.We use the PTP model to compare candidate mechanisms of speed modulation in significantly modulated fields and determine that speed acts as a gain control on the magnitude of firing rate. Our model provides a tool that connects rigorous analysis with a computational framework for understanding place cell activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27035-27042
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume116
Issue number52
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 26 2019

Keywords

  • Firing rate variability
  • Phase precession
  • Spatial navigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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