Theta band oscillation and synchrony in the hippocampal formation and associated structures: the case for its role in sensorimotor integration

Behav Brain Res. 2001 Dec 14;127(1-2):119-36. doi: 10.1016/s0166-4328(01)00358-8.


The current review advances the argument that it is naïve to ascribe a unitary function to the hippocampal formation (HPC). Rather, it is more productive to consider the hippocampal formation as consisting of a number of subsystems, each subsystem defined by its own particular neural circuitry. Among examples of neural circuitry appearing in current hippocampal literature are theta, beta and gamma oscillations, sharp waves, place cells and head orientation cells. Data are reviewed supporting the case that theta band oscillation and synchrony is involved in mechanisms underlying sensorimotor integration. Specifically, the neural circuitry underlying the production of oscillation and synchrony (theta) in limbic cortex and associated structures function in the capacity of providing voluntary motor systems with continually updated feedback on their performance relative to changing environmental (sensory) conditions. A crucial aspect of this performance is the intensity with which the motor programs are initiated and maintained. The ascending brainstem HPC synchronizing pathways make the primary contribution in this regard. These pathways originate in the rostral pontine region, ascend and synapse with caudal diencephalic nuclei, which in turn send projections to the medial septal region. The medial septum functions as the node in the ascending pathways, sending both cholinergic and GABA-ergic projections to the HPC. An updated version of the sensorimotor integration model including anatomical details is presented and discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Stem / physiology*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Limbic System / physiology
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neural Pathways
  • Pons / physiology
  • Posterior Thalamic Nuclei / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Septal Nuclei / physiology
  • Theta Rhythm*