Hippocampo-cerebellar theta band phase synchrony in rabbits

Neuroscience. 2010 Feb 17;165(4):1538-45. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.11.044. Epub 2009 Nov 27.


Hippocampal functioning, in the form of theta band oscillation, has been shown to modulate and predict cerebellar learning of which rabbit eyeblink conditioning is perhaps the most well-known example. The contribution of hippocampal neural activity to cerebellar learning is only possible if there is a functional connection between the two structures. Here, in the context of trace eyeblink conditioning, we show (1) that, in addition to the hippocampus, prominent theta oscillation also occurs in the cerebellum, and (2) that cerebellar theta oscillation is synchronized with that in the hippocampus. Further, the degree of phase synchrony (PS) increased both as a response to the conditioning stimuli and as a function of the relative power of hippocampal theta oscillation. However, the degree of PS did not change as a function of either training or learning nor did it predict learning rate as the hippocampal theta ratio did. Nevertheless, theta band synchronization might reflect the formation of transient neural assemblies between the hippocampus and the cerebellum. These findings help us understand how hippocampal function can affect eyeblink conditioning, during which the critical plasticity occurs in the cerebellum. Future studies should examine cerebellar unit activity in relation to hippocampal theta oscillations in order to discover the detailed mechanisms of theta-paced neural activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Conditioning, Eyelid / physiology*
  • Cortical Synchronization*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Learning / physiology
  • Male
  • Periodicity
  • Practice, Psychological
  • Rabbits
  • Random Allocation
  • Theta Rhythm*