Retrosplenial and postsubicular head direction cells compared during visual landmark discrimination

Lozano, Y. R., Page, H., Jacob, P.-Y., Lomi, E., Street, J. and Jeffery, K. (2017) Retrosplenial and postsubicular head direction cells compared during visual landmark discrimination. Brain and Neuroscience Advances, 1, p. 2398212817721859. (doi: 10.1177/2398212817721859) (PMID:30246155) (PMCID:PMC6124005)

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Background: Visual landmarks are used by head direction (HD) cells to establish and help update the animal’s representation of head direction, for use in orientation and navigation. Two cortical regions that are connected to primary visual areas, postsubiculum (PoS) and retrosplenial cortex (RSC), possess HD cells: we investigated whether they differ in how they process visual landmarks. Methods: We compared PoS and RSC HD cell activity from tetrode-implanted rats exploring an arena in which correct HD orientation required discrimination of two opposing landmarks having high, moderate or low discriminability. Results: RSC HD cells had higher firing rates than PoS HD cells and slightly lower modulation by angular head velocity, and anticipated actual head direction by ~48 ms, indicating that RSC spiking leads PoS spiking. Otherwise, we saw no differences in landmark processing, in that HD cells in both regions showed equal responsiveness to and discrimination of the cues, with cells in both regions having unipolar directional tuning curves and showing better discrimination of the highly discriminable cues. There was a small spatial component to the signal in some cells, consistent with their role in interacting with the place cell navigation system, and there was also slight modulation by running speed. Neither region showed theta modulation of HD cell spiking. Conclusions: That the cells can immediately respond to subtle differences in spatial landmarks is consistent with rapid processing of visual snapshots or scenes; similarities in PoS and RSC responding may be due either to similar computations being performed on the visual inputs, or to rapid sharing of information between these regions. More generally, this two-cue HD cell paradigm may be a useful method for testing rapid spontaneous visual discrimination capabilities in other experimental settings.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Jeffery, Professor Kate
Authors: Lozano, Y. R., Page, H., Jacob, P.-Y., Lomi, E., Street, J., and Jeffery, K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Brain and Neuroscience Advances
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):2398-2128
Published Online:15 September 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Brain and Neuroscience Advances 1: 2398212817721859
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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