Decline in hippocampal theta activity during cessation of locomotor approach sequences: amplitude leads frequency and relates to instrumental behavior

Neuroscience. 2006 Jul 7;140(3):779-90. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2006.02.058. Epub 2006 Apr 3.


Hippocampal theta frequency and amplitude decrease as locomotor approach slows and the goal is reached. This study compared the declines of these theta parameters and related them to behavioral events. Theta activity was recorded with bipolar electrodes spanning cornu Ammon, sector 1 or cornu Ammon, sectors 2/3 cell layers of the dorsal hippocampus in 12 rats trained to approach and depress a treadle which exposed a milk dipper. Behavioral events were identified using a video capture system (20-ms sampling) synchronized to the hippocampal recording system (10-ms sampling). Peri-event averages of theta activity were made around the initial paw contact with the treadle, the presentation of the dipper, and the first lick at the dipper. Phase relationships between averaged hippocampal slow wave activity and behavioral events occasionally were found but they were inconsistent. In averages of both amplitude and frequency, times of minimum were less variable around paw contact indicating that compared with reward presentation and consummatory behavior, it more closely related to the processes determining the declines. Theta amplitude declined more rapidly than frequency and reached an earlier minimum in averages around initial paw contact and dipper presentation. Mean amplitude minimum occurred after the paw contact at 159 ms but the decline of frequency continued into the licking bout with its minimum occurring at 343 ms. The findings indicate that during the termination of approach locomotion, the amplitude of hippocampal theta activity is closely related to specific expected sensorimotor events.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Reward
  • Theta Rhythm*