Theta (4-12 Hz) and gamma (40-100 Hz) field potentials represent the interaction of synchronized synaptic input onto distinct neuronal populations within the hippocampal formation. Theta is quite prominent during exploratory activity, locomotion, and REM sleep. Although it is generally acknowledged that theta is coherent throughout most of the hippocampus, there is significant variability in theta, as well as gamma, coherence across lamina at any particular septotemporal level of the hippocampus. Larger differences in theta coherence are observed across the septotemporal (long) axis. We have reported that during REM sleep there is a decrease in theta coherence across the long axis that varies with the topography of CA3/mossy cell input rather than the topography of the prominent entorhinal input. On the basis of differences in the rat's behavior as well as the activity of neuromodulatory inputs (e.g., noradrenergic and serotonergic), we hypothesized that theta coherence across the long axis would be greater during locomotion than REM sleep and exhibit a pattern more consistent with the topography of entorhinal inputs. We examined theta and gamma coherence indices at different septotemporal and laminar sites during distinct theta states: locomotion during maze running, REM sleep, following acute treatment with a θ-inducing cholinomimetic (physostigmine) and for comparison during slow-wave sleep. The results demonstrate a generally consistent pattern of theta and gamma coherence across the septotemporal axis of the hippocampus that is quite indifferent to sensory input and overt behavior. These results are discussed with regards to the neurobiological mechanisms that generate theta and gamma and the growing body of evidence linking theta and gamma indices to memory and other cognitive functions.
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