Optogenetic Entrainment of Hippocampal Theta Oscillations in Behaving Mice

J Vis Exp. 2018 Jun 29;(136):57349. doi: 10.3791/57349.


Extensive data on relationships of neural network oscillations to behavior and organization of neuronal discharge across brain regions call for new tools to selectively manipulate brain rhythms. Here we describe an approach combining projection-specific optogenetics with extracellular electrophysiology for high-fidelity control of hippocampal theta oscillations (5-10 Hz) in behaving mice. The specificity of the optogenetic entrainment is achieved by targeting channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) to the GABAergic population of medial septal cells, crucially involved in the generation of hippocampal theta oscillations, and a local synchronized activation of a subset of inhibitory septal afferents in the hippocampus. The efficacy of the optogenetic rhythm control is verified by a simultaneous monitoring of the local field potential (LFP) across lamina of the CA1 area and/or of neuronal discharge. Using this readily implementable preparation we show efficacy of various optogenetic stimulation protocols for induction of theta oscillations and for the manipulation of their frequency and regularity. Finally, a combination of the theta rhythm control with projection-specific inhibition addresses the readout of particular aspects of the hippocampal synchronization by efferent regions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Optogenetics / methods*