Local field potential oscillations reflect temporally coordinated neuronal ensembles-coupling distant brain regions, gating processing windows, and providing a reference for spike timing-based codes. In phase amplitude coupling (PAC), the amplitude of the envelope of a faster oscillation is larger within a phase window of a slower carrier wave. Here, we characterized PAC, and the related theta phase-referenced high gamma and beta power (PRP), in the olfactory bulb of mice learning to discriminate odorants. PAC changes throughout learning, and odorant-elicited changes in PRP increase for rewarded and decrease for unrewarded odorants. Contextual odorant identity (is the odorant rewarded?) can be decoded from peak PRP in animals proficient in odorant discrimination, but not in naïve mice. As the animal learns to discriminate the odorants the dimensionality of PRP decreases. Therefore, modulation of phase-referenced chunking of information in the course of learning plays a role in early sensory processing in olfaction.
Keywords: associative learning; behavior; dimensionality; local field potential; mouse; neuroscience; olfaction; phase amplitude coupling.
© 2020, Losacco et al.