A vast literature implicates the ventral striatum in the processing of reward-related information and in mediating the impact of such information on behavior. It is characterized by heterogeneity at the local circuit, connectivity, and functional levels. A tool for dissecting this complex structure that has received relatively little attention until recently is the analysis of ventral striatal local field potential oscillations, which are more prominent in the gamma band compared to the dorsal striatum. Here we review recent results on gamma oscillations recorded from freely moving rats. Ventral striatal gamma separates into distinct frequency bands (gamma-50 and gamma-80) with distinct behavioral correlates, relationships to different inputs, and separate populations of phase-locked putative fast-spiking interneurons. Fast switching between gamma-50 and gamma-80 occurs spontaneously but is influenced by reward delivery as well as the application of dopaminergic drugs. These results provide novel insights into ventral striatal processing and highlight the importance of considering fast-timescale dynamics of ventral striatal activity.
Keywords: fast-spiking interneuron; local field potential; nucleus accumbens; phase locking; tetrode recording.