Theta dynamics in rat: speed and acceleration across the Septotemporal axis

PLoS One. 2014 May 19;9(5):e97987. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097987. eCollection 2014.


Theta (6-12 Hz) rhythmicity in the local field potential (LFP) reflects a clocking mechanism that brings physically isolated neurons together in time, allowing for the integration and segregation of distributed cell assemblies. Variation in the theta signal has been linked to locomotor speed, sensorimotor integration as well as cognitive processing. Previously, we have characterized the relationship between locomotor speed and theta power and how that relationship varies across the septotemporal (long) axis of the hippocampus (HPC). The current study investigated the relationship between whole body acceleration, deceleration and theta indices at CA1 and dentate gyrus (DG) sites along the septotemporal axis of the HPC in rats. Results indicate that whole body acceleration and deceleration predicts a significant amount of variability in the theta signal beyond variation in locomotor speed. Furthermore, deceleration was more predictive of variation in theta amplitude as compared to acceleration as rats traversed a linear track. Such findings highlight key variables that systematically predict the variability in the theta signal across the long axis of the HPC. A better understanding of the relative contribution of these quantifiable variables and their variation as a function of experience and environmental conditions should facilitate our understanding of the relationship between theta and sensorimotor/cognitive functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration*
  • Animals
  • Dentate Gyrus / physiology*
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Regression Analysis
  • Theta Rhythm / physiology*

Grants and funding

The current work was supported by National Science Foundation 0090451 to J. J. Chrobak and M. A. Escabí ( The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.