Postnatal development of rat hippocampal gamma rhythm in vivo

J Neurophysiol. 2002 Sep;88(3):1469-74. doi: 10.1152/jn.2002.88.3.1469.


Network oscillations in the gamma-frequency band (20-100 Hz) may have a central role in the timing and coordination of neural activity in the adult brain, yet their appearance in the course of development has remained unexplored. Moreover, electroencephalogram (EEG)-based classification of the vigilance states [active sleep (AS), quiet sleep (QS), or awake (W)] has been thought to be possible only after the second postnatal week. We now report the presence of spontaneous hippocampal gamma oscillations in the area CA3 of freely moving rats at postnatal days (P) 5-10. Initially, at P5, the gamma oscillations were seen in time-frequency analyses of intrahippocampal EEG recordings as brief (<500 ms) bursts at 20-30 Hz. The early gamma rhythmicity was most pronounced during periods of AS but was occasionally detected also during QS. Toward P10, the gamma oscillations gained amplitude and extended also to higher (<or=60 Hz) frequencies. In parallel, the gamma oscillations were progressively more and more confined to AS. To further consolidate these findings, we compared amplitude spectra averaged within the behavioral categories. AS was characterized by the appearances of gamma (20-30 Hz) and theta (3-5 Hz) peaks at P6 and at P8, respectively. QS, on the other hand, had considerably smoother amplitude distributions between 1 and 100 Hz for P5-P10, with no peaks in gamma or theta bands. Hippocampal gamma rhythm thus seems to hallmark early AS. Our data provide the first in vivo evidence for both the presence and the behavioral correlate of spontaneous gamma oscillations in the newborn rat.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / growth & development*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Hippocampus / growth & development
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Oscillometry
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Sleep Stages / physiology
  • Wakefulness / physiology