Image of the Day: Synchronized Neurons

Memory formation in mice involves coordinated activity at the cellular level that likely leads to new circuits in the brain.

Amy Schleunes
Feb 14, 2020
Calcium dynamics in the mouse hippocampus show silent neurons (in blue) alongside highly active neurons (in yellow and red) that synchronize their activity in response to foot-shock conditioning.

Hippocampal neuron activity coalesces into a coordinated firing pattern as memories form in the mouse brain, according to a study published on January 15 in The FASEB Journal. The authors used fear conditioning to produce “activity synchronization” in neurons that was correlated with freezing behavior, a process they believe “is critical for trace memory formation and retrieval,” they write in their study.

“There are tens of millions of neurons in the hippocampus but only a small fraction of them are involved in this learning process,” says University of New Hampshire neurobiologist and coauthor Xuanmao Chen in a press release. “Before engaging in Pavlovian conditioning, these neurons are highly active, almost chaotic, without much coordination with each other, but during memory formation they change their pattern from random to synchronized, likely forging new connecting circuits in the brain to bridge two unrelated events.”

Y. Zhou et al., “Induction of activity synchronization among primed hippocampal neurons out of random dynamics is key for trace memory formation and retrieval,” The FASEB Journal, doi:10.1096/fj.201902274R, 2020.

Amy Schleunes is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at

January/February 2020

A Light in the Dark

Unpacking the Complex Neurobiology of Suicide


Sponsored Product Updates

BIA Separations and University of Zagreb Sign License Agreement to Commercialize Novel Elution Method for Virus and Viral Vector purification
Agreement gives BIA Separations access to proprietary technology to better preserve integrity, infectivity and potency of immunoaffinity-purified viral vectors for gene therapy
Norgen Biotek Offers First-Class Products to Assist Researchers in the Study and Molecular Diagnosis of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak
Norgen Biotek Corp., an innovative privately held Canadian biotechnology company focusing primarily on advancing powerful tools for nucleic acid and protein stabilization and purification, today announced that they are offering a number of products to the scientific and medical community to support the study of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19, formerly 2019-nCoV) outbreak in humans.
Can HEPAs Filter Out Everything?
HEPA filters remove particulate matter from the air, but can they catch volatile chemicals and DNA? Download this poster from The Baker Company to find out!
Touch Screen Repeating Pipette with Advanced Features from BrandTech® Scientific
NEW! The BRAND® HandyStep® touch S repeating pipette has advanced pipetting features for versatility.