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A Minimal Biophysical Model of Phase Precession

Place cells are excitable pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus. These neurons fire preferentially to a rat's location in the environment, which is referred to as the place field. Place cells also fire preferentially to a particular phase of the theta rhythm, which is an electroencephalograph recording of the hippocampus observed in rats during exploratory movement. As the rat moves through a place field, the particular phase of the theta rhythm at which the place cell fires has been observed to systematically precess, i.e. firing occurs at progressively earlier phases of the theta rhythm. The underlying neural mechanism of phase precession might be the basis of a temporal code utilized for further information processing in the hippocampus. We construct a network model of connected neurons in order to generate phase precession. Each neuron is modeled by considering a conductance based cell model.

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Adrian Smith
Marco Herrera-Valdez