Theta Phase Precession

 

Single and cummulative (top row) trials shown for five different place cells (one per column) when the rat crossed neuron’s the place field.

During theta oscillations of exploring rats, neurons fire at a phase relative to theta that corresponds to the distance from the ”preferred” location of the neuron. This relative phase changes (”precesses”) as the animal moves. A beautiful consequence of this phenomenon on the network level is that neurons fire in sequences during exploration, within 10s of milliseconds–a timescale most suitable for synaptic plasticity (LTP and LTD).  In our lab, we are interested in the biophysical and network mechanisms that produce phase precession.