Successful execution of working memory linked to synchronized high-frequency gamma oscillations

Cell. 2014 May 8;157(4):845-57. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.04.009. Epub 2014 Apr 24.


Neuronal oscillations have been hypothesized to play an important role in cognition and its ensuing behavior, but evidence that links a specific neuronal oscillation to a discrete cognitive event is largely lacking. We measured neuronal activity in the entorhinal-hippocampal circuit while mice performed a reward-based spatial working memory task. During the memory retention period, a transient burst of high gamma synchronization preceded an animal's correct choice in both prospective planning and retrospective mistake correction, but not an animal's incorrect choice. Optogenetic inhibition of the circuit targeted to the choice point area resulted in a coordinated reduction in both high gamma synchrony and correct execution of a working-memory-guided behavior. These findings suggest that transient high gamma synchrony contributes to the successful execution of spatial working memory. Furthermore, our data are consistent with an association between transient high gamma synchrony and explicit awareness of the working memory content.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena
  • Entorhinal Cortex / cytology
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning*
  • Memory, Short-Term*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neurons / physiology*