Before the onset of locomotion, the hippocampus undergoes a transition into an activity-state specialized for the processing of spatially related input. This brain-state transition is associated with increased firing rates of CA1 pyramidal neurons and the occurrence of theta oscillations, which both correlate with locomotion velocity. However, the neural circuit by which locomotor activity is linked to hippocampal oscillations and neuronal firing rates is unresolved. Here we reveal a septo-hippocampal circuit mediated by glutamatergic (VGluT2(+)) neurons that is activated before locomotion onset and that controls the initiation and velocity of locomotion as well as the entrainment of theta oscillations. Moreover, via septo-hippocampal projections onto alveus/oriens interneurons, this circuit regulates feedforward inhibition of Schaffer collateral and perforant path input to CA1 pyramidal neurons in a locomotion-dependent manner. With higher locomotion speed, the increased activity of medial septal VGluT2 neurons is translated into increased axo-somatic depolarization and higher firing rates of CA1 pyramidal neurons. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
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