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The hippocampus encodes delay and value information during delay-discounting decision making

By Akira Masuda, Chie Sano, Qi Zhang, Hiromichi Goto, Thomas J. McHugh, Shigeyoshi Fujisawa, Shigeyoshi Itohara

Posted 17 Dec 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/495598

The hippocampus, a region critical for memory and spatial navigation, has been implicated in delay discounting, the decline in subjective reward value when a delay is imposed. However, how delay discounting is encoded in the hippocampus is poorly understood. Here we recorded from the hippocampal CA1 region of mice performing a delay-discounting decision-making task, where delay lengths and reward amounts were changed across sessions, and identified subpopulations of neurons in CA1 which increased or decreased their firing rate during long delays. The activity of both delay-active and -suppressive cells reflected delay length, reward amount, and arm position, however manipulating reward amount differentially impacted the two populations, suggesting distinct roles in the valuation process. Further, genetic deletion of NMDA receptor in hippocampal pyramidal cells impaired delay-discount behavior and diminished delay-dependent activity in CA1. Our results suggest that distinct subclasses of hippocampal neurons concertedly support delay-discounting decision in a manner dependent on NMDA receptor function.

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