Impaired long-range synchronization of gamma oscillations in the neocortex of a mouse lacking Kv3.2 potassium channels

J Neurophysiol. 2012 Aug 1;108(3):827-33. doi: 10.1152/jn.00102.2012. Epub 2012 Apr 25.


Inhibitory interneurons play a critical role in the generation of gamma (20-50 Hz) oscillations, either by forming mutually inhibitory networks or as part of recurrent networks with pyramidal cells. A key property of fast spiking interneurons is their ability to generate brief spikes and high-frequency spike trains with little accommodation. However, the role of their firing properties in network oscillations has not been tested in vivo. Studies in hippocampus in vitro have shown that high-frequency spike doublets in interneurons play a key role in the long-range synchronization of gamma oscillations with little phase lag despite long axonal conduction delays. We generated a knockout (KO) mouse lacking Kv3.2 potassium channel subunits, where infragranular inhibitory interneurons lose the ability both to sustain high-frequency firing and reliably generate high-frequency spike doublets. We recorded cortical local field potentials in anesthetized and awake, restrained mice. Spontaneous activity of the KO and the wild-type (WT) showed similar content of gamma and slow (0.1-15 Hz) frequencies, but the KO showed a significantly larger decay of synchronization of gamma oscillations with distance. Coronal cuts in the cortex of WT mice decreased synchronization to values similar to the intact KO. The synchronization of the slow oscillation showed little decay with distance in both mice and was largely reduced after coronal cuts. Our results show that the firing properties of inhibitory interneurons are critical for long-range synchronization of gamma oscillations, and emphasize that intrinsic electrophysiological properties of single cells may play a key role in the spatiotemporal characteristics of network activity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Clocks / genetics
  • Biological Clocks / physiology*
  • Cortical Synchronization / genetics
  • Cortical Synchronization / physiology*
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neocortex / cytology
  • Neocortex / physiopathology*
  • Shaw Potassium Channels / genetics


  • Shaw Potassium Channels