The relationship between gamma frequency and running speed differs for slow and fast gamma rhythms in freely behaving rats

Hippocampus. 2015 Aug;25(8):924-38. doi: 10.1002/hipo.22415. Epub 2015 Jan 20.


In hippocampal area CA1 of rats, the frequency of gamma activity has been shown to increase with running speed (Ahmed and Mehta, 2012). This finding suggests that different gamma frequencies simply allow for different timings of transitions across cell assemblies at varying running speeds, rather than serving unique functions. However, accumulating evidence supports the conclusion that slow (∼25-55 Hz) and fast (∼60-100 Hz) gamma are distinct network states with different functions. If slow and fast gamma constitute distinct network states, then it is possible that slow and fast gamma frequencies are differentially affected by running speed. In this study, we tested this hypothesis and found that slow and fast gamma frequencies change differently as a function of running speed in hippocampal areas CA1 and CA3, and in the superficial layers of the medial entorhinal cortex (MEC). Fast gamma frequencies increased with increasing running speed in all three areas. Slow gamma frequencies changed significantly less across different speeds. Furthermore, at high running speeds, CA3 firing rates were low, and MEC firing rates were high, suggesting that CA1 transitions from CA3 inputs to MEC inputs as running speed increases. These results support the hypothesis that slow and fast gamma reflect functionally distinct states in the hippocampal network, with fast gamma driven by MEC at high running speeds and slow gamma driven by CA3 at low running speeds.

Keywords: gamma; grid cells; hippocampus; place cells; running speed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Gamma Rhythm / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Running / physiology*
  • Spectrum Analysis
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Time Factors
  • Wakefulness / physiology*