Mice require several days of training to master the water maze, a spatial memory task for rodents. The hippocampus plays a key role in the formation of spatial and episodic memories, a process that involves the activation of immediate-early genes such as cFos. We trained cFos-reporter mice in the water maze, expecting that consistent spatial behavior would be reflected by consistent cFos patterns across training episodes. Even after extensive training, however, different sets of dentate gyrus (DG) granule cells were activated every day. Suppressing activity in the original encoding ensemble helped mice to learn a novel platform position (reversal learning). Our results suggest that even in a constant environment, cFos+ ensembles in the dorsal DG segregate as a function of time, but become partially reactivated when animals try to access memories of past events.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience