Phase locking of single neuron activity to theta oscillations during working memory in monkey extrastriate visual cortex

Neuron. 2005 Jan 6;45(1):147-56. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2004.12.025.


Working memory has been linked to elevated single neuron discharge in monkeys and to oscillatory changes in the human EEG, but the relation between these effects has remained largely unexplored. We addressed this question by measuring local field potentials and single unit activity simultaneously from multiple electrodes placed in extrastriate visual cortex while monkeys were performing a working memory task. We describe a significant enhancement in theta band energy during the delay period. Theta oscillations had a systematic effect on single neuron activity, with neurons emitting more action potentials near their preferred angle of each theta cycle. Sample-selective delay activity was enhanced if only action potentials emitted near the preferred theta angle were considered. Our results suggest that extrastriate visual cortex is involved in short-term maintenance of information and that theta oscillations provide a mechanism for structuring the recurrent interaction between neurons in different brain regions that underlie working memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Biological Clocks / physiology*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology
  • Theta Rhythm*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*