Cellular mechanisms of neuronal population oscillations in the hippocampus in vitro

Annu Rev Neurosci. 2004;27:247-78. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.27.070203.144303.


A variety of population oscillations, at frequencies approximately 5 Hz up to 200 Hz and above, can be induced in hippocampal slices either by (a) manipulation of the ionic environment, or (b) by stimulation of metabotropic receptors; brief oscillations can even occur spontaneously. In this review, we consider in vitro theta (4-12 Hz), gamma/beta (15-70 Hz), and very fast oscillations (VFO) (>70 Hz). Many in vitro oscillations are gated by synaptic inhibition but are influenced by electrical coupling as well; one type depends solely on electrical coupling. For some oscillations dependent upon inhibition, the detailed firing patterns of interneurons can influence long-range synchronization. Two sorts of electrical coupling are important in modulating or generating various in vitro oscillations: (a) between interneurons, primarily between dendrites; and (b) between axons of pyramidal neurons. VFO can exist in isolation or can act as generators of gamma frequency oscillations. Oscillations at gamma frequencies and below probably create conditions under which synaptic plasticity can occur, between selected neurons-even those separated by significant axonal conduction delays.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Biological Clocks / physiology*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Nerve Net / cytology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology