Mature dentate granule cells show different intrinsic properties depending on the behavioral context of their activation

  • Peret Angélique
  • Pléau Claire
  • Pearlstein Edouard
  • Scalfati Thomas
  • Marti Geoffrey
  • Michel François
  • Crépel Valérie

  • Dentate gyrus
  • Initial segment
  • Intrinsic excitability
  • Hippocampus
  • Home cage
  • Virtual reality


The dentate gyrus (DG) plays a crucial role in learning, memory and spatial navigation. Only a small fraction of mature dentate granule cells (mDGCs) is active during behavior, while the large majority remains silent. To date, the properties of this active subset of neurons remain poorly investigated. Using fosGFP transgenic mice, we show ex vivo that activated mDGCs, from mice maintained in their home cage, exhibit a marked lower intrinsic excitability compared to the non-activated cells. Remarkably, activated mDGCs, from mice trained in a virtual environment, are more excitable than those from mice maintained in their home cage. Therefore, we show that activated mDGCs display different intrinsic properties and excitable states depending on the context of their activation. We propose that these properties could constitute a neural signature of cell assemblies recruited in different behavioral contexts.