An olfacto-hippocampal network is dynamically involved in odor-discrimination learning

J Neurophysiol. 2007 Oct;98(4):2196-205. doi: 10.1152/jn.00524.2007. Epub 2007 Aug 15.


Several studies have shown that memory consolidation relies partly on interactions between sensory and limbic areas. The functional loop formed by the olfactory system and the hippocampus represents an experimentally tractable model that can provide insight into this question. It had been shown previously that odor-learning associated beta band oscillations (15-30 Hz) of the local field potential in the rat olfactory system are enhanced with criterion performance, but it was unknown if these involve networks beyond the olfactory system. We recorded local field potentials from the olfactory bulb (OB) and dorsal and ventral hippocampus during acquisition of odor discriminations in a go/no-go task. These regions showed increased beta oscillation power during odor sampling, accompanied by a coherence increase in this frequency band between the OB and both hippocampal subfields. This coherence between the OB and the hippocampus increased with the onset of the first rule transfer to a new odor set and remained high for all learning phases and subsequent odor sets. However, coherence between the two hippocampal fields reset to baseline levels with each new odor set and increased again with criterion performance. These data support hippocampal involvement in the network underlying odor-discrimination learning and also suggest that cooperation between the dorsal and ventral hippocampus varies with learning progress. Oscillatory activity in the beta range may thus provide a mechanism by which these areas are linked during memory consolidation, similar to proposed roles of beta oscillations in other systems with long-range connections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Beta Rhythm
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Electrophysiology
  • Hippocampus / anatomy & histology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Odorants*
  • Olfactory Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Smell / physiology*