Remapping and realignment in the hippocampal formation predi
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Past neuroscience research has consistently highlighted the role of hippocampal formation in contextual memory, the ability to remember specific contexts or environments. In this brain area, context is typically represented by the activity of a specific neuronal population, known as "place cells." Place cells fire whenever a human or animal is in specific places, environments, or locations.

Researchers have recently carried out a study investigating how two processes in hippocampal formation, known as remapping and realignment, contribute to context-dependent spatial behavior in humans. Their paper, published in Nature Neuroscience, provides new insight into the neural underpinnings of contextual memory functions that can be impaired in individuals with specific brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease.

To confirm whether remapping and realignment guide context-dependent spatial behavior is human, participants learned object–location associations within two distinct virtual reality environments and subsequently had their memory tested during functional MRI (fMRI) scanning.

Entorhinal grid-like representations showed realignment between the two contexts, and coincident changes in fMRI activity patterns consistent with remapping were observed in the hippocampus. Critically, in a third ambiguous context, trial-by-trial remapping and realignment in the hippocampal–entorhinal network predicted context-dependent behavior.

These results reveal the hippocampal–entorhinal mechanisms mediating human contextual memory and suggest that hippocampal formation plays a key role in spatial behavior under uncertainty.

Nature Neuroscience