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The hippocampus provides the brain's memory system with a subset of neurons holding a map-like representation of each environment experienced. We found in mice that optogenetic silencing those neurons active in an environment unmasked a subset of quiet neurons, enabling the emergence of an alternative map. When applied in a cocaine-paired environment, this intervention neutralized an otherwise long-lasting drug-place preference, showing that recoding a spatial memory engram can alleviate associated maladaptive behavior.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/nn.4250

Type

Journal article

Journal

Nat Neurosci

Publication Date

04/2016

Volume

19

Pages

564 - 567

Keywords

Action Potentials, Animals, Cocaine, Conditioning (Psychology), Hippocampus, Male, Memory, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Transgenic, Optogenetics