Place Cell System
Pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus often show location specific activities in a given environment, and are called "place cells". Figure 1 shows a good example of the place cell activity as a place map (red implies higher neuronal activity). Place cell system along with the head direction system is believed to be critical for the place navigation. These marvelous neurons have amazing ability to learn and remember about the specific place. This ability of individual place cells enables us to study the physiological substrates of Learning & Memory. Furthermore, genetically engineered mice showing memory impairment in Morris water maze have shown the disruption of the hippocampal place cell system. Place cell recordings using various mutant mice with memory impairment or enhancement can provide intriguing clues that might be helpful to identify the mechanism of Learning & Memory.
Physiology of Hippocampus in NCX2 Knock-out mice
Impact of calcium flux on physiology using conditional knock-out of P/Q type calcium channel
Fig 1. Comparisons of place fields.