The precise temporal coordination of activity in the brain is thought to be fundamental for memory function. Inhibitory neurons in the medial septum provide a prominent source of innervation to the hippocampus and play a major role in controlling hippocampal theta (~8 Hz) oscillations. While pharmacological inhibition of medial septal neurons is known to disrupt memory, the exact role of septal inhibitory neurons in regulating hippocampal representations and memory is not fully understood. Here, we dissociate the role of theta rhythms in spatiotemporal coding and memory using an all-optical interrogation and recording approach. We find that optogenetic frequency scrambling stimulations abolish theta oscillations and modulate a portion of neurons in the hippocampus. Such stimulation decreased episodic and working memory retrieval while leaving hippocampal spatiotemporal codes intact. Our study suggests that theta rhythms play an essential role in memory but may not be necessary for hippocampal spatiotemporal codes.
© 2023. The Author(s).