Theta and gamma coherence along the septotemporal axis of the hippocampus

J Neurophysiol. 2009 Mar;101(3):1192-200. doi: 10.1152/jn.90846.2008. Epub 2008 Dec 31.


Theta and gamma rhythms synchronize neurons within and across brain structures. Both rhythms are widespread within the hippocampus during exploratory behavior and rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. How synchronous are these rhythms throughout the hippocampus? The present study examined theta and gamma coherence along the septotemporal (long) axis of the hippocampus in rats during REM sleep, a behavioral state during which theta signals are unaffected by external sensory input or ongoing behavior. Unilateral entorhinal cortical inputs are thought to play a prominent role in the current generation of theta, whereas current generation of gamma is primarily due to local GABAergic neurons. The septal 50% (4-5 mm) of the dentate gyrus (DG) receives a highly divergent, unilateral projection from any focal point along a lateral band of entorhinal neurons near the rhinal sulcus. We hypothesized that theta coherence in the target zone (septal DG) of this divergent entorhinal input would not vary, while gamma coherence would significantly decline with distance in this zone. However, both theta and gamma coherence decreased significantly along the long axis in the septal 50% of the hippocampus across both DG and CA1 electrode sites. In contrast, theta coherence between homotypic (e.g., DG to DG) sites in the contralateral hemisphere ( approximately 3-5 mm distant) were quite high ( approximately 0.7-0.9), much greater than theta coherence between homotypic sites 3-5 mm distant ( approximately 0.4-0.6) along the long axis. These findings define anatomic variation in both rhythms along the longitudinal axis of the hippocampus, indicate the bilateral CA3/mossy cell projections are the major determinant of theta coherence during REM, and demonstrate that theta coherence varies as a function of anatomical connectivity rather than physical distance. We suggest CA3 and entorhinal inputs interact dynamically to generate theta field potentials and advance the utility of theta and gamma coherence as indicators of hippocampal dynamics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biophysics
  • Dentate Gyrus / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Hippocampus / anatomy & histology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Periodicity
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sleep, REM / physiology*
  • Wakefulness